Fates and Fortunes

Stewbert signed and ready for Conan

4/20/2010 02:17:04 PM

colbert stewartLet me once again wear my fandom on my sleeve:

In what should be a surprise to no one and good news for all, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert aka Stewbert (aka Stew Beef if you’ve watched The Daily Show lately) have both reupped with the network.

Stewart will remain in front of and behind the cameras for three more years, through June 2013. Colbert, meanwhile, has locked in his contract through December 2012. Both deals take their hosts through the next presidential election, an important time for two shows that earn their keep mostly by gleefully mocking the disheveled state of American politics. Stewart has been hosting The Daily Show since way back in the pre-social media days of 1999. The Colbert Report was spun-off in 2005.

The New York Times’ Bill Carter was first with this news last night, quoting MTV Networks’ Doug Herzog, who couldn’t resist tossing out a baseball metaphor: “We feel very good about where we are. Jon and Stephen have established themselves not only on the cable landscape but also on the cultural landscape. I think of myself as the manager of the ’61 Yankees. I just wanted to keep writing Mantle and Maris into the lineup as many seasons as I can.”

It’s also on when it comes to beating Conan, who just signed a five-year deal to host his late-night show on TBS, starting this November: “[Jon and Stephen] are paid handsomely and there isn’t anything they haven’t accomplished, or can’t accomplish, from behind the desks at Comedy Central, from being on every magazine cover imaginable, to — in Jon’s case — hosting the Oscars. I’m not sure what else is left? Well, beating Conan.”

While audiences for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report don’t match audiences for the big network franchises – particularly The Tonight Show and Late Show with David Letterman – both shows have a great deal of cultural influence, with many of their segments going viral.

The Daily Show has made a name for itself by keeping broadcast, cable and even local TV news outlets honest, calling them on questionable facts and irrelevant segments, not that The Daily Show doesn’t have a few of those of its own. The Colbert Report has made a habit of traveling to hotspots, including a USO trip to perform the show for the troops in Iraq last year and a week-long spate at this year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Several Daily Show correspondents have gone on to TV and movie careers, most notably Steve Carell (The Office, Date Night, The 40 Year Old Virgin), Rob Corrdry (Hot Tub Time Machine), Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover) and Rob Riggle (The Hangover, The Other Guys, Team Spitz).

Stewart himself seems most comfortable in his Daily Show chair, frequently poking fun of himself for hosting the Oscars and appearing in feature films such as Death to Smoochy with occasional Daily Show guest Robin Williams, Evan Almighty with Carell and the animated film Doogal.

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