In one more sign of how desperate the mainstream media is in a fragmented viewing environment, NBC courted late-night comic Jon Stewart to take over as host of “Meet the Press” on Sunday mornings, a new report shows.
New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer column reports the network sought “The Daily Show’s” Stewart to take over the once-venerable institution and was willing to pay just about anything to land him.
“They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,” a source told the magazine.
Stewart turned the offer down after a series of negotiations, the Intelligencer reported, and the job eventually went to political reporting veteran Chuck Todd.
From a superficial point of view, the move might have made sense. Stewart has a large, loyal following – and it tends to be in the youth demographic advertisers crave.
And NBC tried to land the Comedy Central star before for a 10 p.m. variety show slot that went to Jay Leno instead, NYM reported.
Also, Stephen Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” will be taking over for David Letterman when “The Late Show” host retires next year.
But this is “Meet the Press,” the show the late Tim Russert made must-see viewing for political and journalistic professionals as well as the general public.
Todd’s journeyman – some might say “boring” — efforts have so far kept the show mired in third place behind “Face the Nation” on CBS and “This Week” on ABC – despite the inaugural shot Todd got from an exclusive interview with President Obama on his debut outing.
Former host David Gregory and his thinly veiled leanings never came close to matching Russert’s appeal. Stewart’s liberalism isn’t veiled at all.
By turning the offer down, he probably did NBC a favor, as well as his own career.
He certainly did one for the rest of us.
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