Jon Stewart Will Return to Host ‘The Daily Show’ on Monday Nights in Giant Middle Finger to Every Other Host That Week
Last week, rumors circulated that, over a year after Trevor Noah’s departure, the producers of The Daily Show plan to eliminate the permanent host position entirely and rely on their full cast of correspondents to lead the late-night comedy news show moving forward. Well, today, The Daily Show introduced its senior show-stealing correspondent: Jon Stewart.
Back in October, Stewart abruptly announced that he was leaving his Apple TV+ show The Problem with Jon Stewart just weeks before the series was scheduled to start production on its second season. Reports from inside the production team cited clashes between the once-and-future Daily Show host and his corporate bosses over Stewart’s coverage of topics like China and artificial intelligence as the wedge issue that drove Stewart away from his temporary streaming home. However, that schism opened the door for Stewart’s triumphant return to his defining role at a show that, in many ways, is still reeling from his first retirement.
This morning, The Daily Show producers announced that, beginning February 12th, Stewart will host The Daily Show every Monday night as the series covers the 2024 election cycle, presumably leaving the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night leads feeling like Ron DeSantis after Donald Trump steals his stiletto cowboy boots.
“Jon Stewart is the voice of our generation, and we are honored to have him return to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show to help us all make sense of the insanity and division roiling the country as we enter the election season,” announced Chris McCarthy, President/CEO of Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios in a statement for Variety. “In our age of staggering hypocrisy and performative politics, Jon is the perfect person to puncture the empty rhetoric and provide much-needed clarity with his brilliant wit.”
The announcement comes following a peculiar couple of weeks for Comedy Central’s flagship news show — when Trevor Noah astoundingly snagged the 2023 Emmy for Outstanding Talk Series earlier this month, former correspondent Roy Wood Jr. went viral while standing behind his old boss during the acceptance speech and repeatedly mouthing the words, “Please hire a host.” Then, on Friday, insiders from The Daily Show indicated that the producers had no intention of taking Wood Jr.’s advice as they seemingly decided to abandon the host search entirely, opting to lean heavily on their cast of correspondents to carry the series in 2024.
The exact role that the remaining Daily Show correspondents will play in the revamped formula is still unclear, but once Stewart returns in February, their elevation from supporting cast to stars will be overshadowed by the second act of the host whose name is synonymous with the show itself. Bringing back Stewart is undoubtedly the most decisive move that Daily Show producers have made since they selected Noah as his successor in 2015, but it betrays their rudderless approach to show-running in which they continue to prioritize splashy temporary measures over long-term stability.
The current cast of Daily Show correspondents will presumably see more time on-screen and a larger creative role on the show when it returns, but let’s be honest, when Stewart hosts the show on Monday night, he’s going to upstage any and all talent that gets the big chair later in the week. Then, judging by their actions in the last year, The Daily Show producers will probably use the ratings disparity between Monday’s shows and the rest of the episodes to justify putting in even more guest spots and temp gigs to bolster viewership. And when Stewart leaves the big chair again in a year’s time, they’ll find themselves in the exact same place that they were in 10 years ago — with no host and no direction.
Who’s ready for Trevor Noah Round 2?