Originally created 03/17/04

Comedy Central goes back to the future for its new president



NEW YORK -- Comedy Central has reached back into its past to hire a former network president to run things again.

Doug Herzog, Comedy Central's president from 1995 to 1998, was hired Tuesday to replace the retiring Larry Divney.

Herzog had left Comedy Central to be Fox entertainment president, and most recently was chief at USA, where he answered to three different corporate owners in three years.

"I really loved this network," he said. "It just felt like a great time to come back."

While at Comedy Central the first time, Herzog helped develop "The Daily Show" and "South Park."

One of his top priorities will be locking up Jon Stewart to stay at "The Daily Show," where he's committed to stay until the end of the presidential election.

"He's become the face of the network," Herzog said.

Comedy Central has grown dramatically since he left, nearly doubling its distribution to more than 80 million homes. It's now wholly owned by Viacom.

One other difference for Herzog: He'll be based in Los Angeles this time, instead of New York.