Is Jon Stewart doing his own version of ‘The Daily Show’?
It’s been close to six years since Jon Stewart left his late-night comedy anchor’s chair and passed it off to Trevor Noah. After running, writing, and hosting Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from 1999 to 2015, Stewart stepped away from the fast-paced gig to direct, write, and slow down a bit. Since he basically revolutionized the political satire genre, we can say he deserved the break.
It was announced in October 2020 that Stewart would return to TV to host a new current affairs series for Apple TV+. Upon that announcement, Apple said that the hour-long series will, “explore topics that are currently part of the national conversation and his advocacy work.” The show’s run is already set up for multiple seasons and a companion podcast. Stewart and Apple have yet to announce the name of the new show.
With such a serious byline, one would think Jon Stewart was heading into serious cable news territory. In order to understand where the show is going, we need to understand where he has been and who is involved in the project.
Since you’ve been gone
Since leaving The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has been busy. When he’s not living at his New Jersey animal sanctuary, Stewart is active in charity organizing for animal rights and autism awareness. He is still an active executive producer on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. A running gag on the show is that Stewart lives under Stephen’s desk.
In 2020, he released his second film which he also wrote and directed. Irresistible starred his former Daily Show correspondent Steve Carrell as a “Democratic strategist who helps a retired veteran run for mayor in a small, conservative Midwest town” until Washington politics get in the way. It also starred Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Topher Grace, and MacKenzie Davis.
Not so funny
Now Stewart is ready to return to the anchor’s desk. Like his once protege, John Oliver and his show Last Week Tonight, Jon Stewart’s new show will handle one topic per episode. This change indicates Stewart’s turn away from comedy and into a more news-oriented direction. For the showrunner of his yet-to-be-named series, Stewart picked Brinda Adhikari, a long-time newswoman and an entire producing team of women.
Adhikari has spent two decades entrenched in investigative reporting. In 2020 she won an Edward R Murrow award (the Oscars of journalism) for a segment on the treatment of migrant children in U.S. detention facilities. She has also worked with news anchor heavyweights Diane Sawyer, David Muir, and Scott Pelley.
Keeping Stewart to his comedy roots is Chelsea Devantez, a career comedic writer who got her start on Stewart’s unreleased HBO show. She has written on Tina Fey’s upcoming project Girls5Eva, Bless this Mess, and Abby’s, while cutting her teeth on comedic journalism in the writer’s room of Daily Show alum Jordan Klepper’s show The Opposition with Jordan Klepper. Devantez also runs the podcast Celebrity Book Club.
In charge of production is Lorrie Baranek who has spent her twenty-year career working on late-night comedy and political shows like My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, The Break with Michelle Wolf, The President Show, and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. It sounds like John Stewart has found the perfect trifecta of people to run his next project: one from news, one from comedy, and one from both.
Producers and podcasts
Stewart is also bringing on his longtime manager James Dixon and former head of HBO Richard Plepler to executive produce. Like The Daily Show before it, this new show will have a corresponding podcast. Unlike the show, which is premiering Apple premium streaming service, the podcast will be free to the public.
Stewart won two Peabody Awards and twenty-four Emmys for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He clearly has a lot to live up to.