The Daily Show presenter Jon Stewart is to leave as host after an incredible 16 years in the hot seat.
Stewart was visibly emotional when he made the announcement at the end of Tuesday night’s episode.
He said: “In my heart I know it is time for someone else. I don’t have any specific plans. Got a lot of ideas. I’ve got a lot of things in my head.”
“I’m going to have dinner on a school night with my family, who I’ve heard from multiple sources are lovely people.”
The pressures of broadcasting live for four nights a week have clearly affected Stewart’s home life, but this wasn’t the only hint at the reasons behind his departure, which is likely to happen later this year according to Comedy Central.
He told the audience: “This show doesn’t deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you.”
In 2013, Stewart took a 12-week sabbatical in order to write and direct his first feature film, Rosewater (2014), based on journalist Maziar Bahari’s four-month imprisonment in Iran following the country’s 2009 elections. The Guardian’s review of the film said that Stewart showed ‘promise as a film-maker should he ever choose to stand down as America’s satirist-in-chief.’ Sadly, that time has now come.
Public figures have been quick to react to Stewart’s shock revelation.
— Eva Longoria (@EvaLongoria) February 11, 2015
Devastated that Jon Stewart is standing down. The thin comic line is breached and the barbarians are upon us.
— Hugh Laurie (@hughlaurie) February 11, 2015
Comedy Central president Michele Ganeless was effusive in her praise for the host. In a statement, she wrote: ‘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.’
Rumours are already circulating about who might replace Stewart. Jason Jones, a long-standing correspondent on the show, is the early frontrunner. John Oliver, despite leaving Comedy Central to join HBO recently, remains popular with the audience. There have also been calls for a female host, with comedienne Amy Schumer touted as one possibility.
One thing’s for sure: The Daily Show just won’t be the same without Jon Stewart sitting behind the desk.
Who do you think should take over the reigns? Is it time for a presenter who doesn’t fit the middle-aged-white-man mould?