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FNC’s Daily Show Rip-off Falls Flat

FAKE NEWSIES Murdoch, Stewart (inset)

Breathe easy, Jon Stewart. It’s looking like the satire program billed as Fox News Channel’s answer to The Daily Show will combine the timeliness of Newsweek with the incisive wit of Mallard Fillmore. So far, Fox has taped two episodes of The Half-Hour News Hour, as the show is being called. (Its working title, This Just In, had to be scrapped, as AOL has a broadband channel with that name.)

Producer Joel Surnow, whose credits also include 24, has described the show as a cross between Comedy Central’s Daily Show and Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” segment. A source who attended the tapings describes the format as far more similar to the latter, with a two-anchor setup and skits interspersed with the talking-head segments. “It was hit and miss—some stuff was inspired, and some was droppable, to say the least,” says the source. Not surprisingly, he adds, most of the jokes had a conservative slant.