Kids, Comedy Central announced today that the man who’s been bringing us news satire since 1999 will be stepping down from his Daily Show helm this year. Jon Stewart transformed the show from a pop culture-focused program to the second longest-running politics and media-centered program on Comedy Central.
Thank you Jon. pic.twitter.com/yPdxjnkuLw
— Comedy Central (@ComedyCentral) February 10, 2015
The half-hour program was originally hosted by Craig Kilborn premiering in 1996. The Daily Show has garnered critical acclaim over the years, winning the Prime Time Emmy many times over. The show also spawned two highly notable spin-off series, The Colbert Report and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, as well as helping to launch former correspondent John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on HBO.
It doesn’t come as a complete surprise that Stewart would relinquish his Daily Show post for good. Stewart took a hiatus from the show in the summer of 2013 to direct his first feature film Rosewater. The film recounts the 2009 imprisonment of an Iranian-British journalist, Maziar Bahair, who was interviewed on The Daily Show that same year. It seems Stewart is looking to attack more serious subject matter after a long, successful career in comedy.
Stewart broke the news to his studio audience this evening:
“Doug Herzog and Michele Ganeless of Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise. And 17 years is the longest I have ever in my life held a job – by 16 years and five months. The upshot there being I am a terrible employee.
But in my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity. Not right away. We’re still working out the details. I’m up in September. It might be around then, it might be December, it might be July. We’re still working out the details. I don’t have specific plans; I’ve got a lot of ideas. I’m going to have a dinner, on a school night, with my family, who, I have heard from multiple sources, are lovely people.
I’m not going to be here and try and sum up what this place has meant to me over the years. I couldn’t do that, and I’m not going anywhere tomorrow. But this show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host, and neither do you. I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They are the best — creative and collaborative and kind. I love them, and respect them so much.”
It’s been an absolute privilege, the honor of my professional life. I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it, whatever reason you were tuning in. You get in this business with the idea that maybe you have a point of view and something to express, and maybe you receive feedback. That is the greatest feeling you can ask for, and I thank you.”
Luckily, Comedy Central has indicated that The Daily Show isn’t going anywhere, and they are looking to find a replacement to fill the anchor post. My vote is for a female correspondent like Kristen Schaal to take over the job. If not her, I would also love to see candidates like Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer, Leslie Jones, or Chelsea Peretti filling Stewart’s shoes.
Were it not for Stewart many legions of young fans might never have been so well informed of world events as they otherwise would have been. Kudos to our honorable anchor. Here’s hoping this announcement is not just some wicked Brian Williams joke.
Who would you like to see replace Jon Stewart? Let us know in the comments below.