Trading Places: BRIAN WILLIAMS and JON STEWART Switch Jobs? by Elizabeth Searle
I feel bad about Brian Williams. Not that he didn’t seriously screw up. But having seen him perform a genial professional-level Stand-Up Comedy routine at the Nantucket Film Festival, I understand why the natural-born raconteur with the movie-star looks has privately pined to replace Jay Leno.
So why not replace Jon Stewart instead? I feel bad about Jon Stewart too. No one can truly replace the comic genius who has in fact become the ‘most trusted’ and truthiest name in news. But Stewart in recent years has seemed to pine for a more ‘serious’ role in policy debate, delivering earnest speeches and directing the solemn documentary ROSEWATER.
In terms of actual interest in and passion for the News, Jon Stewart seems to me to possess more gravitas than starstruck Brian Williams. And Williams– who did stumble his stand-up act onto sacred ground when he puffed up his own role in a real military mission– has always had stars in his eyes.
He climbed up the network news ladder partly on the strength of looks and charm rather than the kind of hard-won reporters’ chops that once elevated Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite– seasoned reporters with less glamor but more gravitas than boyish Williams– into anchor chairs.
On a practical note, NBC ratings would soar if Jon Stewart took the lead anchor chair. Brian Williams might fare less well in Stewart’s ‘hot seat’– but that’s Show Biz.
(photos: adage.com, Salon.com, fcm images; GoogleImages)