“NBC reportedly tried to lure left-wing comedian Jon Stewart to host Meet the Press,” Tony Lee writes at Big Journalism:
According to a report in New York magazine, before giving the job to Chuck Todd, whom many saw as the rightful heir to the late Tim Russert, “NBC News president Deborah Turness held negotiations with Jon Stewart about hosting Meet the Press,” and the network reportedly offered Stewart “virtually anything” and “were ready to back the Brink’s truck up.”
Stewart, a rabid left-wing ideologue, is only funny to liberals who find “Pajama Boy” endearing. His schtick rarely works with without extensive–and deceptive–edits, which would not make him effective on a program that the late Russert made venerable and was once the gold standard among Sunday morning talk shows. And NBC’s courtship of Stewart may indicate that some of the network’s executives no longer even care about objectivity in the pursuit of cheap ratings.
That NBC’s executives long-ago eschewed objectivity should be obvious; hard-left MSNBC, the home of Al Sharpton, Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes is their subsidiary channel after all. But assuming the report in New York magazine is accurate, it means that MSNBC’s parent channel has officially come full circle: this was the channel that launched Chevy Chase’s career via his weekly appearance as a faux newscaster during the first season of Saturday Night Live in 1975. That show was produced from its start by Lorne Michaels (with the exception of approximately five years in the 1980s when Michaels had departed the show). In addition to producing SNL, Michaels is also the head of NBC’s late-night programming. By attempting to woo another faux-journalist from a show that’s basically Weekend Update on steroids to host a hard news show, Michaels’ touch would have extended to its news division as well.
As original Saturday Night Live writer Anne Beatts liked to quip, “you can only be avant-garde for so long, before you become garde.” Or palace guard, in the case of Jon Stewart, and Michaels himself, since he has allowed Mr. Obama veto power over jokes on SNL.
Related: RIP late ’80s SNL cast member Jan Hooks, who passed away recently from an extended illness at the far too young age of 57.