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Jon Stewart’s teleprompter is working again

By Emily Morgan

February 14, 2008 at 2:31pm

After 100 days without writers, TV shows began to return to normal yesterday after most of the striking writers voted to return to work.

Writers for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show were back to work on Wednesday morning, making Jon Stewart one of the first late-night hosts to return to his pre-strike glory.

Before cameras rolled in the Manhattan studio, Stewart seemed pretty pumped up. Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” blared, and he mouthed lyrics and drummed along on his desk while looking over his first script in more than three months.

Stewart began his newscast musing, “Words in the prompter, script on my desk, vending machine upstairs out of Funyuns … The writers are back!” After a celebratory dance, and loud cheers from his studio audience, he announced, “It is no longer ‘A Daily Show’ It is once again, The Daily Show! We’re back, baby!”

The Associated Press reports that ratings for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report haven’t actually been hurt by the strike. The Daily Show has had around the same number of viewers this January as in 2007 (1.6 million), and The Colbert Report viewers have gone up 6 percent from last year.

It’s possible that Stewart and Stephen Colbert can pull off their own jokes without relying as heavily on their writers.

At yesterday’s Daily Show, Stewart and Colbert riffed for a while via telecast before settling in to tape the segment the writers had prepared for them, which joked about a coffee-getters union strike. The joke was a little forced in comparison with the hosts’ off-the-cuff banter.

After The Daily Show wrapped for Wednesday, the studio audience got to watch Stewart tape the introduction for The Daily Show: Global Edition, which is filmed once a week. This time, Stewart’s opening joke was improvised, inspired by a question an audience member asked him before the show began.

Is it possible that Stewart’s better without a script?

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