After nearly 16 years at the helm, it’s the end of an era as iconic Comedy Central host Jon Stewart will depart The Daily Show later this year. Stewart announced his coming departure during the taping of Tuesday’s show. Revealing he wasn’t immediately sure what his next move would be but he had a lot of ideas and supports the idea that the show deserves a host that’s 100% fully committed to the job at hand and not slightly restless. The host revealed that his exact departure date wasn’t confirmed yet, but it will be sometime this year. His contract ends in September.
Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless confirmed the departure it in a statement. “For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart,” Ganeless said. “His comedic brilliance is second to none. Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision, The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come. Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.”
Stewart became anchor in 1999, taking a show that Craig Kilborn had started and turned it into a cultural phenomenon that left no subject matter and no politicians unscathed. The show has received 50 Emmy nominations and won 15. And it spawned another powerhouse in its own right when Stephen Colbert, a Daily Show correspondent, launched The Colbert Report. Other notable correspondents that have spent time on the show include Steve Carell, Rob Corddry, Josh Gad, Ed Helms, Rachael Harris, Olivia Munn, Kristen Schaal, Larry Wilmore, Michael Che, and John Oliver.
The news of this announcement raises two immediate thoughts. Though a tough announcement to take, it’s not entirely surprising as Stewart has been itchy to pursue other ventures for a while now, including directing films which was confirmed when he took a break in 2013 to direct the movie Rosewater. Which leads us to the more obvious, had John Oliver not jumped ship to HBO last fall, he’d be the (very) likely successor to Stewart when the chair is vacated.