The timing of the new deal was not directly related to the impending late-night arrival at TBS next November of Conan O'Brien, Doug Herzog, president of MTV Networks Entertainment Group, told the NYT. But, he noted that the channel could hardly be unaware of it.
"We're big admirers of Conan here," he said, but added, "Jon and Stephen do something different from what Conan does" and what Jay Leno does, and David Letterman. "We think there's room for everybody," he said.
Herzog said he would have liked to sign the stars for even longer terms. Under the new deals, Colbert is locked into Comedy Central until December 31, 2012, and Stewart a half-year longer.