Property Grunt

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


From Page 6

March 17, 2009 --

JON Stewart, the scourge of Wall Street and bane of CNBC, may have had a secret weapon in his corner to help him prep for his grudge match with "Mad Money" host, Jim Cramer - his older brother.

As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, Stewart's brother, Larry Leibowitz, is head of US Markets & Global Technology at NYSE Euronext. (Stewart's given surname is also "Leibowitz," but he famously told "60 Minutes" that he changed it to "Stewart" because Leibowitz "sounded too Hollywood"). Larry has also held high positions at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley.

A Page Six spy who recently shared an elevator ride at the NYSE with Leibowitz and Big Board CEO Duncan Niederauer says, "They both got off on the sixth floor, after Leibowitz had practically been doing everything but shine his shoes for the short ride up. What a routine they have. One brother pretends to kick Wall Street's butt by crucifying Cramer on his show, while the other brother is down on Wall Street kissing it."

Whatever advice the elder Leibowitz gave the talk-show host before last week's showdown, it worked: The typically loudmouthed Cramer was uncharacteristically silent in the face of Stewart's attacks and even seemed repentant at times.

Meanwhile, the hit to Cramer's credibility has been followed by a hit to his ratings. While a CNBC rep says that March numbers for "Mad Money" are up overall compared to February, the show suffered a 2 percent decline in viewership in the days following Cramer's appearance on Stewart's "The Daily Show" and 6 percent in the 25-54 demographic. Stewart, on the other hand, drew more than 2 million viewers - 50 percent more than his average. Both Stewart and Leibowitz declined to comment.

It is what Cramer deserves and it was a long time coming. Even if it does not end it, hopefully this publicity will put a monkey wrench in the works of his pump and dump operation.

As for Jon Stewart's relation to Wall Street, I am not surprised. Show business and Wall Street do make strange bedfellows but it does happen. Who do you think bank rolled Superman Returns? Where did you think all that flood of dumb money came from in Hollywood?