Comedy Reups With Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert

Comedy Central has locked in its late-night chat show tandem for the next few years, extending the contracts of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert through the 2012 presidential election.

In separate deals, the Viacom network re-upped the host of its 11 p.m. program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart through June 2013, while the man behind the desk of The Colbert Report will stick around until the end of 2012. Both entertainers will continue to serve as executive producers and writers for their respective shows.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Forbes magazine last year pegged Stewart’s annual salary at $14 million. This year marks the comedian’s 12th season at the helm of The Daily Show; he assumed the host role in 1999 when Craig Kilborn left Comedy Central to take over Tom Snyder’s spot on CBS’ The Late Late Show.

Colbert has been aligned with Comedy Central since 1997, when he joined The Daily Show as a correspondent. In 2005, the network launched The Colbert Report.  

The twin signings were finalized a week after news that Conan O’Brien had made the jump from The Tonight Show to basic cable. In November, O’Brien will begin his tenure at TBS, where he’ll host a new 11 p.m. talk show.

O’Brien signed a 5-year contract with TBS. Per terms of the deal, he’ll own the new show outright.

Media buyers note that the Stewart-Colbert block and the nascent O’Brien show promise to make cable a must-buy for marketers looking to reach younger viewers in late night. “Other than maybe Jimmy Fallon, I’m not sure there’s anything on broadcast that’s going to be able to keep up with what they’re doing in cable,” one national TV buyer said. “Certain categories, you’re just not going to go to Leno or Letterman.”


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