‘Stewart’ guru ankling

Karlin exit jars laff net

This article was updated on Dec. 1, 2006.

Ben Karlin is leaving his post as exec producer of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report” at the end of the year.

Comedy Central confirmed late Thursday that David Javerbaum will move up from head writer to exec producer of “Daily Show.” No replacement has been named for Javerbaum.

Exit also leaves “Colbert” without a showrunner, though Stewart and Colbert serve as exec producers.

Cabler noted in a statement that Karlin will remain with both series as a consulting producer.

Comedy Central and Karlin’s reps at UTA would not comment on his departure. They also declined comment on whether Karlin would remain a principal at Busboy Prods., the shingle founded by Stewart, nor would they address the status of “Three Strikes,” the laffer net pilot Karlin is exec producing via Busboy (Daily Variety, Aug. 8).

Exit is sudden and considered a major loss for both shows. Karlin is the driving force behind “The Daily Show” and was hired by Stewart himself after the host replaced Craig Kilborn in 1999. A former writer for the Onion, Karlin quickly rose through the ranks until he was named exec producer in 2003.

Under his watch, the show has won numerous Emmys and became a pop culture phenomenon after its biting presidential election coverage in 2004 drew record ratings. Coverage also spawned the bestselling “America: The Book,” which Karlin co-authored with Stewart.

In 2005, Karlin and Stewart revived Busboy, which immediately launched a second latenight success for Comedy Central in “Colbert.”

Remaining senior staff on “Daily” include co-exec producers Josh Lieb, Kahane Corn and Dan Sterling.