Viacom entertainment executive Doug Herzog ’81 says don’t expect The Daily Show’s outgoing host, comedian Jon Stewart, to anchor the real news anytime soon.
“I promise you Jon is never going to read the news,” Herzog said in a February 13 interview with Emerson College Today. “He is probably going to talk about the news, but he is never going to read the news [on television].”
Herzog, an Emerson College Trustee, made the comment after some media speculation that Stewart may want to replace NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who was suspended February 10 for allegedly lying about his experience in Iraq.
In October, Stewart confirmed to Rolling Stone that he was approached by NBC about hosting Meet the Press.
“I think he could,” Herzog said of anchoring TV news, “but he’s not desirous of that.”
Stewart announced February 10—the same day news broke of Williams’ suspension—that he would be leaving The Daily Show, a highly successful news satire show on Viacom’s Comedy Central network, after hosting it for 16 years. An exact departure date has not been set.
In his announcement, Stewart thanked Herzog, president of Viacom’s entertainment group, by name for his support and being one of the executives who helped create the show.
“I’ve had a long relationship with Jon and we know each other well,” Herzog said. “I had known about [his announcement] for many months, but when you hear him say it out loud, and see the audience and the public at large react in the way they did, quite frankly, it takes your breath away. You realize you’re in the presence of arguably one of the greatest and most important TV personalities in the history of television.”
“He’s a great intersection of Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson,” Herzog said.
Herzog has said there is a “short list” of personalities to replace Stewart.
“The important thing is trying not to imitate Jon Stewart going forward,” he said. “Somebody needs to give [the show] a fresh perspective… The Daily Show is going to survive and thrive.”