While he already had a pretty long career as a stand-up comic, TV host, and occasional actor by that time, Jon Stewart didn’t truly become a household name until he took over Comedy Central’s The Daily Show from original host Craig Kilborn in 1999. Over his 15-plus year stint as host, Stewart would become, in many ways, the most trusted name in TV news among a good portion of the American populace, despite his frequent public insistence that he was simply a comedian.
When Stewart finally opted to exit The Daily Show in 2015, it was a huge story, and while most fans figured that he would take some time off, it was always kind of assumed that he would end up in another — at least semi-regular — TV gig before too long. After all, Stewart’s name still carries weight with the masses, and his was a voice that came to speak for many viewers who found themselves without one. Unfortunately, that hasn’t turned out to be the case, with Stewart still spending most of his time post-TDS on his farm in New Jersey.
Back in November 2015 — only a few months after departing Comedy Central — Stewart came to a deal with HBO to produce a series of short-form animated segments that would provide the former host’s signature brand of topical humor to audiences, just in a different format than before. Frustratingly, for fans who miss getting Stewart’s take on the news, this project’s debut kept getting pushed back over and over again, at one point setting a deadline of before the 2016 election, then obviously missing that goal. Unsurprisingly, Variety now reports that HBO has officially axed Stewart’s animated venture. Check out their full statement below.
“HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material. We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together which you will be hearing about in the near future.”
While it’s reassuring that HBO and Stewart still plan to collaborate on future projects — the two parties initially signed a four-year production deal in 2015 — the fact that their very first planned collaboration couldn’t even make it off the ground certainly doesn’t inspire confidence going forward. One wonders what exactly the technical issues were that HBO encountered that were serious enough to kibosh the animated Stewart project completely.
In the meantime, those fans jonesing for their Jon Stewart comedy fix will just have to keep tuning into new episodes of CBS’ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, on which Stewart elects to pop in and contribute from time to time. Sadly, it doesn’t appear that he plans to become even a semi-regular TV presence again anytime soon.