Jon Stewart courted by NBC’s ‘Meet the Press,’ sends ‘Daily Show’ crew to Lawrence

Missed opportunity? NBC reportedly talked to Jon Stewart about hosting “Meet the Press.”
Missed opportunity? NBC reportedly talked to Jon Stewart about hosting “Meet the Press.” Associated Press

What a huge missed opportunity, for a lot of people.

NBC approached Jon Stewart about hosting it’s Sunday-morning political news show, “Meet the Press,” according to a report from New York magazine.

“They were ready to back the Brink's truck up,” said one of three senior TV sources who spilled the beans.

NBC News president Deborah Turness reportedly held negotiations with the “Comedy Central” star before hiring Chuck Todd for the gig. NBC has declined to comment on the report.

But Stewart’s own show must go on. He sent a crew from his “Daily Show” to Lawrence earlier this week, according to the Lawrence Journal-World.

“Daily Show” correspondent Jessica Williams interviewed several people, including a Kansas Teacher of the Year, for a future segment on the state’s recent cuts in education funding. Some of the filming took place at the Lawrence Arts Center.

“They came with eastern preconceptions about Lawrence, and I think they left with a very positive opinion of Lawrence and probably a better opinion of Kansas than they came in with,” Ric Averill, the center’s artistic director of performing arts, told the Lawrence newspaper.

In the wake of the “Meet the Press” revelation, a lot of people are imaging what the show could have been with Stewart at the helm.

New York mag touted him as “a devastatingly effective interrogator, and his ‘Meet the Press’ might have made a worthy successor to Tim Russert’s no-bull**** interviews.

“During the home stretch of the 2012 campaign, Stewart grilled Obama for his wan presidential debate performance, asking: ‘Do you feel you have a stronger affirmative case for a second Barack Obama presidency or a stronger negative case for a Romney presidency?’”

Time entertainment reporter James Poniewozik wondered what NBC had in mind.

Stewart is “a supplement, a commentator, throwing stink bombs in from the outside. To put him in that Beltway-priest, neutral-insider role would have been a joke, and not the ha-ha kind,” he wrote.

“On the other hand, if NBC were hiring Stewart to replace not just David Gregory, but the idea of ‘Meet the Press’ itself – to create, if not copy, ‘The Daily Show,’ a seriously funny issues show with a point of view and an adversarial attitude that would roast not just the guests, but the culture of Washington – now that could have been something.”

We wonder how Chuck Todd is taking this news. He’s been on the job for one month and the show is behind in the ratings.

Finding out Stewart was NBC’s first choice must feel like becoming Miss America after the winner loses the crown in a sex scandal.