The Slatest

NBC Reportedly Tried to Hire Jon Stewart to Host Meet the Press

Jon Stewart interviewing President Obama in 2010.

Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images

The Daily Show and Meet the Press exist in different TV schedule galaxies. One’s a late show, the other early. One program is a comedy; the other is not a comedy. Despite these differences in style and delivery, NBC News execs made a run at spicing up the Sunday morning wonkfest that is Meet the Press by hiring none other than Jon Stewart as anchor.

NBC’s courting of Stewart earlier this year for the job that is now occupied by Chuck Todd comes via New York Magazine.

Before choosing Todd, NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting Meet the Press, according to three senior television sources with knowledge of the talks. One source explained that NBC was prepared to offer Stewart virtually “anything” to bring him over. “They were ready to back the Brink’s truck up,” the source said. A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment. James Dixon, Stewart’s agent, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Stewart, whose Comedy Central contract extends through next year, declined NBC’s aggressive courtship. He probably recognized that much of his audience wouldn’t rush to turn on their televisions early on a Sunday morning. As Todd told a reporter last month, it’s a tough time slot for the young folks: “Are they rejecting the brand or are they just not getting up?” 

Todd, who ended up getting the nod to replace David Gregory, responded (sort of) to the news of NBC’s Stewart affair with his very own dollop of humor.