I love Jon Stewart and The Daily Show. But now that he announced his imminent departure for some time later this year to pursue an unannounced or unknown to him venture, it’s time to examine an issue that hasn’t been covered.
Why does he get paid a reported $25-30 million a year for a show with just 2.3 million viewers during the 40 weeks his four-time-a-week, half-hour show airs? Not only was he making obscene money, you have to wonder if he’s crazy to walk away from a cushy, well paying, revered position that bordered entertainment and pseudo journalism.
A lot of people are overpaid in our country. Wall Street honchos are choking on their money. Pro athletes, when not beating women up or taking drugs, bring in billions. Same with top musicians, movie stars, and the like. Talk show hosts and TV newscasters also get big bucks. But even within that world, Stewart sounds overpaid. So why is he so unhappy, so “restless”?
I can’t criticize him if he wants to pursue other things, such as make movies, or pursue anchoring a real news show, though it all reminds me of when the planet’s greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan, tried his hand at baseball and failed miserably. When you are tops at what you do, stick with it.
So what is Stewart up to? Stephen Colbert left his show straight up to pursue Letterman’s gig. That was a clear move – more money, bigger exposure, and something new but very familiar. But where’s Stewart heading? If he does more of the same for another network, why the switch? If he ditches his true talent and tries other things, well, he may have destroyed what was a legendary career.
Maybe he’ll do something like start his own online network or run for political office. He doesn’t need more money or fame, although as a comedian he will miss the daily roar of applause. He will miss having the approval of others. He needs a venue to spew.
Maybe he’ll do more books. That’s a natural outlet for him. Perhaps he’ll form a foundation and save the world he is so good at ridiculing. Or maybe he’ll do nothing and force himself into retirement.
I smell conspiracy. Maybe he didn’t volunteer to leave – could it be that Comedy Central dumped him in a cost-saving maneuver? His contract is up in September. He’ll leave just as the 2016 race for the White House heats up. It’s hard to believe we won’t have him to kick others around for us.
I predict Steve Carell will come back to take the show over. I have no predictions for Stewart. His move baffles me, but most of all, saddens all of us.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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