Right on the heels of the news of NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ six month suspension came the announcement that comedian and political satirist Jon Stewart would be stepping down as the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after more than 16 years. Although Stewart’s contract with Comedy Central doesn’t end until September, he claimed that his departure is unknown but could come at any point, “in July or maybe December.”
Stewart announced his plans during a taping of the program on Tuesday saying, “In my heart, I know it’s time for someone else” to fulfill the head anchor role.
After taking over as host of The Daily Show in 1999, Stewart helped transform the show from a parody of the news to a political satire and an influential platform of news and media commentary. He even interviewed president Barack Obama, former president Bill Clinton and former governor Mike Huckabee.
The Daily Show averaged 2.2 million viewers nightly last year and even allowed itself to compete with the top late night shows on the major four cable channels, including The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel Live.
|Stewart with frequent collaborator Stephen Colbert|
at the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear in 2010.
Photo courtesy of zap2it.com.
During his tenure as host, The Daily Show has won 20 Emmy Awards and has sparked the careers of once burgeoning comedians into legitimate stars, a list that includes Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, and most recently John Oliver.
There has been a generation of viewers who have watched Stewart and The Daily Show that have cited the show as their primary source of information after losing trust in both the politicians in Washington D.C. and the mainstream news media.
Stewart will also be known for his determination to take on his ‘opponents' on their shows, some of which include Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor and his legendary takedown of CNN’s Crossfire back in 2004.
|Stewart on the set of his directorial debut Rosewater.|
Back in the summer of 2013, Stewart took a hiatus from The Daily Show to the direct the film Rosewater. The film was based off of a memoir by Maziar Bahari, an Iranian journalist who had been held in Iran for over three months after reporting on its disputed 2009 elections.
Rosewater didn't turn out to be a huge commercial success, but garnered enough critical acclaim that have many movie insiders pegging Stewart as a 'director to watch'.
After announcing his plans to leave The Daily Show on air, Stewart admitted, “I’ve got a lot of ideas. I got a lot of things in my head. I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people.”
Any thoughts on Jon Stewart leaving The Daily Show and who should Comedy Central pick as a potential replacement? Leave a comment below or send me your comment on Twitter @ConnorGlowacki.