Thursday, February 12, 2015

While You Weren't Looking (unless you're a Viacom stockholder)

While the world was arguing and debating the merit of Brian Williams six month suspension, without pay, from the NBC Nightly News, Jon Stewart and Comedy Central decided to rattle the cages of television viewers even further with the surprise announcement that Stewart would not be returning to the Daily Show  after the current season.  Since replacing Craig Kilborn in 1999, Stewart is the only host most viewers of the show have ever known. Their shock and dismay comes as no surprise nor should anyone be surprised to learn that stock in Comedy Central's parent company, Viacom, took a hit too on the heels of Stewart's surprise revelation. According to some Wall Street observers, Viacom's shareholders took that massive hit to the tune of somewhere around 350 million dollars.  That's a lot of bank for a newsman, who is not really a newsman.  There's no doubt that's a huge amount for a company to lose on a fake newscast.  While it's true that Stewart is a huge ratings and revenue cash cow for Comedy Central, the network is only a small part of the Viacom stable and this announcement should not have had that kind of impact on the company overall. But it did.  It is also also a huge indicator where the lines between entertainment and journalism are becoming more and more blurred every day. And going in the other direction, much like the lines between journalism and entertainment are becoming more and more blurred as evidenced with the recent Brian Williams scandal. 

Who will they get to replace Jon Stewart?  I'm not sure and I don't think the big cheeses at Viacom  have a clue either.  One thing is for sure though......they had better look and act a lot like Jon Stewart OR Brian Williams and be damn funny too or it might take Viacom  a long time to recover that 350 million in lost stock value!

Til Next Time............

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