Jon Stewart has never been coy about his feelings for Fox News and its personnel both in front of and behind the camera, particularly when it comes to Roger Ailes, the network’s chairman and CEO.
But are the feelings mutual, or has the ongoing mocking been a mere 16-year misunderstanding? Ailes told The Hollywood Reporter that, effectively, Fox News “never took it seriously and [Stewart] never made a dent in us.”
Ailes discussed Stewart at length with THR, specifically following Stewart’s July 29 episode in which he compared Ailes to Death in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (watch the clip below). Ailes has not seen the clip but explained he expects that sort of reaction from Stewart.
“He’s feeling unrewarded because Fox News beats him on the amount of money we make, on ratings and on popularity,” Ailes said. “I’m sure it’s very depressing when he sits home at night and worries about it. We never did.”
Ailes did offer some compliments to Stewart, calling him a “good father” and “really smart,” but that, in the last days of his tenure on The Daily Show, Stewart simply wanted to make a last-ditch effort to bury Ailes.
“I think he’s disappointed that he didn’t accomplish that goal, and we, of course, supplied him with half of his comedy. It’s just a matter of disappointment,” he said.
As for Stewart’s future, Ailes anticipates he’ll continue directing films “with sort of a left-wing point of view,” but don’t expect to see Stewart pop up on Fox anytime soon.
“He can’t come over here. He would depress everyone, Ailes said. “I could get him a job. Not on air. As a stagehand.”
For more from Ailes, head over to The Hollywood Reporter.