In the most Earth-shattering news to hit Twitter since the Spider-Man news that hit Twitter last night, reports began percolating out on Tuesday (February 10) afternoon that Jon Stewart told the audience of tonight's show that he's leaving “The Daily Show.”
Comedy Central confirmed the news soon after.
Jon Stewart, who transformed “The Daily Show” into an Emmy-winning juggernaut, is indeed departing his Comedy Central favorite.
“For the better part of the last two decades, I have had the incredible honor and privilege of working with Jon Stewart,” states Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless. “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.”
Jon Stewart took over “The Daily Show” from original host Craig Kilborn on January 11, 1999. “The Daily Show” premiered with Kilborn as host in 1996, but it was only under Stewart's watch that it became the go-to home both both comedic takes on the news, but also for well-earned outrage at the news media.
“The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart has won 18 Emmys and when I tallied my list of TV's Best of the Decade for the '00s, it came in at No.2, behind only “The Wire.” From 2003 to 2012, “The Daily Show” won 10 consecutive Emmys in the Outstanding Variety, Music and Comedy series.
Assuming it comes in 2015 (Comedy Central has yet to clarify a timetable), Stewart's “Daily Show” departure will cap a year of overhaul both in late night TV, but also specifically in late night TV at Comedy Central.
“The Colbert Report,” itself sprung from Stephen Colbert's “Daily Show” persona, ended in December and was replaced by “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore,” featuring another “Daily Show” veteran.
Colbert is, of course, going to CBS, where he will be replacing David Letterman in September as host of “Last Show” after Letterman's decorated run ends on May 20, 2015. CBS also has a transition taking place on “The Late, Late Show,” where James Corden is taking over on March 23, replacing Craig Ferguson, who left in December. [Bringing things full-circle, Ferguson of course took over after Craig Kilborn had a five-year hosting run immediately after his “Daily Show” stint.]
During his lengthy “Daily Show” run, Stewart's longest leave-of-absence came in the summer of 2013, when he took 12 weeks off to direct the tepidly received film “Rosewater.” During that time, Stewart was relieved by John Oliver, who received rave reviews and has gone on to his own hosting duties on HBO's “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”
Stay tuned for more details.