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Jon Stewart: Late-night talk-show host?

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Jon_lA late-night hosting gig on a major network is sort of likethe television equivalent of the Oval Office — sitting in that chair issupposed to mean that the majority of Americans find your presence bearable, and speculation about who might succeed you kicks into gear waybefore it seems relevant.

With Conan O’Brien set to take over Jay Leno’s Tonight Show seat in 2009, the late-nightreshuffle has shifted into high gear, with rumors floating about a potential moveby Jon Stewart (pictured). Broadcasting & Cablereports that NBC execs Jeff Zucker and Mark Graboff have recently ”wined anddined” the Daily Show host and hisagent, presumably hoping for Stewart to fill the 12:30 am slot that Conan will eventually vacate.

Jon Stewart on network TV seems like a no-brainer. He’sperfected the art of the charming, light interview; he’s clearly got the comedychops for the job, and he’s always been able to attract great writers. But thequestion remains: what would Stewart sacrifice in a move from cable tonetwork TV? While I don’t know if DailyShow is quite the ”must-see” viewing that it was during the last election cycle, Stewart’ssatire has become part of the pop-culture consciousness — probably of thepolitical consciousness, as well, though he would humbly downplay thatbyproduct of his comedy. So would he lose any of his edge by moving to a less politically-engaged program?

I’m not a network night owl by any means, so I’m interestedto hear what the rest of you have to say. Would you like to see Stewart move toNBC? Are there any other candidates you think should be considered to fill Conan’s chair?