Just the other night I was watching The Daily Show, and I found myself thinking, "Wow, I bet Jon Stewart is a really awesome, nice, normal dude." And you know what? I'm sure he is, except he is not like the rest of us plebes, as Business Insider has informed us all that Jon Stewart collects a salary between $25 to $30 million for his work on The Daily Show, which is more than any other late night television host. So, yeah, he's a normal dude — just a normal dude who happens to more money than, well, anybody else in his field.
So why might Stewart receive a bigger paycheck than any of the other late night hosts? (For the record, TV Guide's annual salary report noted that Letterman takes home $20 million a year). His show rakes in significantly less viewers than The Tonight Show or Late Night does (about a million fewer), yet somehow, his bank account rakes in a whole lot more than any one of his late night competitors. Might it be because he is one of the pioneers of the contemporary news satire movement? Stewart has paved the way from The Colbert Report, as well as Last Week Tonight. Not to mention, culling together segments that are direct and immediate responses to the news might take more time than prepping interviews and variety bits (although that warrants a shout-out to those writers who bust their asses for hours upon end).
But it often feels like The Daily Show gives its audience a better version of the news than some of the actual "real" news outlets do. After all, the truth is funny. Additionally, Stewart manages to be both newscaster and comedian — so he's doing two (very difficult) jobs at once. Stewart's also proven to be incredibly successful at delivering this type of material, and with 15 years of The Daily Show under his (probably very expensive) belt, he's a seasoned vet of the late night television landscape.
Comparatively speaking, Conan O'Brien takes home $2 million a year, Jimmy Fallon accrues $11 million a year, Chelsea Handler will take home $10 million for her upcoming Netflix series, Jimmy Kimmel receives $10 million, and John Oliver takes home $2 million. Jeez. But for the record, Business Insider noted that Stewart took home $16 million in 2012, so talk about an increase.
You keep doin' you, Jon Stewart. It's obviously working.