Want an idea of how powerful Jon Stewart has become in the media world in the 17 years he’s been hosting The Daily Show? Here’s a pretty solid example: His retirement announcement earlier this week cost Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom, around $350 million.
Shares of Viacom, the media conglomerate that owns cable network Comedy Central, dipped on Wednesday following news that the company is preparing for the departure of yet another major comedy personality.
Stewart’s announcement Tuesday night that he is stepping down as host of The Daily Show sometime later this year sent Viacom’s stock down by nearly 1.5% Wednesday. That decline erased roughly $350 million from the company’s market value over the course of the day.
You know what would be hilarious? If the whole thing was just an elaborate grift, where Jon Stewart uses shell companies in the Caribbean to secretly invest tons of money into positions that would allow him to profit off Viacom’s stock slide, and then he reverses course next week to double up by announcing that he changed his mind and will stay after all. It would be so diabolical and unnecessary that I’d almost have to respect it.