Comedy Central is looking to make a big move now that they have to replace Jon Stewart who will be leaving The Daily Show most likely before September when his contract expires. The network is considering hiring someone already on the staff but at the same time they have a couple of big name stars they would like to talk with before they decide who gets Stewarts anchor chair.
They are expected to reach out to former Saturday Night Live star Amy Poehler and in what some think might be an interesting move, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams who is serving a six month suspension for “embellishing the news.”
John Oliver, who did an outstanding job filling in for Stewart last summer would be the main choice. However, he just signed a new two year deal doing his own fake news show “Last Week Tonight,”and he is off the market.
The Daily Show is the flagship program for Comedy Central and it has been the networks most profitable show. According to Variety Stewart is being paid $40 million a year for the show which is more than Jay Leno, made doing the Tonight Show and more than David Letterman is getting to doing Late Night .
Right now Poehler, is considered the leader for the job because she is talented, versatile and her sitcom, Parks and Recreation, is not returning the NBC lineup next year. Poehler, lives in New York, is a former Saturday Night Live fake news anchor and since her show is gone, she clearly has the time and the talent to fill the spot on The Daily Show.
Meanwhile, Williams who is under suspension by NBC News but it will be up sometime in July, just in time to make the move to Comedy Central. The way it works would be if he is told by NBC News that he not coming back then The Daily Show, would make sense for newsman. Williams understands the news and has a great sense of humor, in many ways he is the perfect person for the job.
He has been a frequent guest on The Daily Show, knows Jon Stewart and is well liked by the staff as well as the writers. Williams loves entertainment, his appearances on “Late Night with David Letterman,” “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,” where he played himself were highly praised by media critics. Williams to Comedy Central to replace Stewart on The Daily Show, while seen by many as a long shot, is still very much a possibility.
If Comedy Central does choose to stay in house for the hiring then a local guy has a chance.
Aasif Mandvi has been a member of the cast of the highly successful Daily Show since 2006 and according to Variety is considered to be on the “In House Short List.”
Mandvi grew up in Tampa and is a proud graduate of the University of South Florida where he got his degree in Theater is a star on the rise. The one time performer at Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando has been a part of The Daily Show since 2006.
Joining Mandvi on the short list is Jessica Williams, who is at 25 the youngest member of the cast and could be too much of a risk. Both Mandvi and Williams are rated by Las Vegas odds at 10-1 at least for now.
Comedy Central expects to take their time to replace Stewart and they will no doubt take their time before choosing his replacement. So, who might be hot now as a replacement in a month or two, but one thing for certain and that is Comedy Central has to get this hire right because filling Stewarts shoes won’t be easy.