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Cheers: Jon Stewart Wins Big at the Oscars

Jon Stewart by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Cheers to Jon Stewart for rallying with a stellar performance at the Oscars. Despite his abbreviated post-strike prep time, the Daily Show wiseguy struck the perfect balance between political barbs ("Oscar is 80 this year, which automatically makes him the front-runner for the Republican nomination") and pop-cultural zingers (No Country for Old Men winner Javier Bardem "brilliantly combined Hannibal Lecter's murderousness with Dorothy Hamill's wedge cut"). Stewart's masterful work marked a sharp improvement over his hesitant hosting debut two years ago. The Academy was wise to reelect him.Inside TVGuide.com's Oscars special:• A complete list of winners and nominees• A series of fab photo galleries• Videos of red-carpet interviews• What were the telecast's highs and lows?• VOTE for the best- and worst-dressed stars!• We sum up backstage's best happenings.• Our live Oscars blog recapped every memorable moment! read more

Oscars Will Move Forward with "Plan A"

Oscar statuette by Bob D'Amico/ABC

The show will go on! With the writers’ strike officially in the can, producers of the 80th Academy Awards have scrapped their contingency plan.Although the show’s more than 700 crew members had previously been preparing two completely different shows (the one you will now see on Oscar night and a star-free backup show with produced packages and film clips), everything appears to be moving forward business as usual. For the most part, anyway.The writers returning to work on the Oscars today will have less than two weeks to craft a show they normally begin writing just after nominations are announced. Even so, associate producer Michael Seligman isn’t worried."Now everyone can focus on what they have to do," he told the AP. "It's a major relief because we can really push ahead with the show we always wanted to do."The writers should get some help from the team of host Jon Stewart, who is expected to arrive in Los Angeles Saturday. Presenters and performers will be annou... read more

Conan-Colbert Brawl

Uh-oh! Looks like Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert’s tiff over who’s really responsible for Huckabee’s fame has reached a new level—we’re talking the ass-kicking kind! Last night, both Colbert and John Stewart appeared on Conan’s show to duke it out like men. Oh, and it was ugly too—bats were swinging, trash cans were flying and they even busted out a blow torch. It was no holds barred, we tell you! read more

Playing Favorites: Ellen Bumps Oprah from No. 1 Spot

Ellen DeGeneres by John Shearer/WireImage.com

Leaping seven spots from a year ago, Ellen DeGeneres has claimed the top spot on a Harris Poll of favorite television personalities. In doing so, Ellen unseated Oprah Winfrey from the No. 1 position the queen of talk has held for five consecutive years.With the big O playing runner-up, the Harris Poll's top five (as voted on by 1,171 U.S. adults) was rounded out by Tonight Show host Jay Leno, House's Hugh Laurie (the only scripted series star to make the top 10) and Daily Show anchor Jon Stewart.Who's your favorite of the final five? Vote here. read more

Day by Daily Show: Back on Track

Jon Stewart by Frank Ockenfels/Comedy Central

His first night back on Monday was a disappointment — too much griping about the strike, not enough political satire — but since then, Jon Stewart and his strike-era "A Daily Show" (it won’t merit the definitive "the" until his writers return) have returned to form. Skewering pundits and pollsters with relish, Stewart is back on his game, cracking himself up with the absurdity of carrying on without the safety net of a writing staff. On Wednesday's show, after taking a swipe at Larry King ("Was that a magical talking gnome?"), Stewart admitted, "Basically, we're now doing the show like Mystery Science Theater," harking back to one of Comedy Central's earlier breakthroughs.And yes, I loved that show, too.But my favorite Daily Show moment so far this week came on Tuesday, when he had conservative author and Guiliani advisor David Frum in his sights. While Frum trashed GOP underdog Ron Paul as "one of those people that the more you learn about him, the more disturbing a ... read more

Strike Watch: Another Day in Late Night

Jon Stewart by Kevin Fitzsimons/Comedy Central

The only true “moment of Zen” I experienced while watching the awkward writer-free return of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show Monday night — or, as Jon Stewart is now calling it, “A Daily Show” — was when his sole guest, a professorial labor expert, said of bitter strikes like the one the Writers’ Guild is currently engaged in: “It’s never intractable.... Eventually, they all get solved.”From his lips to....What a day it was in Strike World. The shoe finally dropped regarding NBC’s telecast of this Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards. The ceremony is canceled, and the awards will be presented in a news-conference style, covered exclusively by NBC News. Talk about your lose-lose propositions. Conferring “news” status on the Globes is an absurd exercise in hollow self-importance. The only reason the Globes is worth a toss isn’t because of who wins — just try to remember who won any of last year’s awards... read more

Cheers: Daily Requirements

Jon Stewart courtesy Comedy Central

Cheers to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for proving The Daily Show and The Colbert Report must go on. The Comedy Central cutups returned without their writers and mined rich laughs from the strike (Stewart's "solidarity unibrow" and reference to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as "NAMBLA") as well as the presidential campaign (Colbert's suggestion he should run as Mike Huckabee's vice-presidential candidate on the "Huckleberry" ticket). Sure, some of the jokes could've used (re)writers: Stewart's facetious likening of the strike to the AIDS crisis and 9/11 fell flat. But I'm voting with my remote — Stewart/Colbert in '08!For another take on the returns of Stewart and Colbert, read the Roush Dispatch. • Read and react to Bruce's opinions on Desperate Housewives, Celebrity Apprentice and more!• Share your own raves and rants about other shows on the Reader Cheers & Jeers discussion board.• We may feature your Cheer or Jeer on TVGuide.c... read more

For Stewart and Colbert Fans, Good Newsy News

Both The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will resume production of new episodes starting Jan. 7, returning to the airwaves that night sans their striking scribes. In a joint statement, the newsmensches say, "We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence — but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence." Adds a less-funny Comedy Central rep, "We continue to hold out hope for a swift resolution to the current stalemate that will enable the shows to be complete again."Related:• Stewart and Colbert Return, But WGA Isn't Laughing read more

A few strike-related ...

Question: A few strike-related questions for you. I'm familiar with the basic reasons behind the writers' strike but not the fine details, so I'm still wondering why the late-night talk shows are affected. Conan, Letterman, Leno, Jon Stewart and the others are all accomplished comedy writers and I'm sure could write their own monologues and comedy skits. Couldn't Dave throw things off the roof of the building or play Show and Tell with the audience without the help of writers, and then still do interviews? Are they showing reruns because they actually have to, or because they are choosing to show their support? The same goes with shows like The Office, where many of the cast members are also writers. I'm sure if you put the cast of The Office in a room together and asked them to write a few scripts, they could come up with material at least as good as what they're already working with, so why not do it? I'd love to see a resolution to this situation as soon as possible, but in the ... read more

Chris Matthews' New Book: A Political How-to

Chris Matthews by Lisa Berg/NBC

Chris Matthews recently celebrated his 10th year as the host of MSNBC's Hardball, and he spent a few decades in politics before that tenure. He's distilled his observations into a new Random House book, Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation and Success. Ah, but can politics teach you how to handle Daily Show host Jon Stewart when he calls your book "sad," as he did when Matthews recently appeared to get a plug? Matthews tells The Biz how he survived what he called "the worst interview I've ever had in my life."TVGuide.com: What made you think your experience in politics would make a good advice book?Chris Matthews: It's what I know. You write what you know. I've spent 36 years watching politicians, and I've learned the traits that work with people. The absence of those traits usually suggests the failure of a career. I'm talking about people who get elected time and time again and succeed in American politics: Generally they have a set ... read more

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