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Why Jon Stewarts Returning to The Daily Show Makes Sense in Every Way

Why Jon Stewarts Returning to The Daily Show Makes Sense in Every Way

 




CNN

Reactions to Jon Stewart's return to The Daily Show after more than eight years of hosting one day a week and overseeing the rest have been decidedly mixed. While some greeted the news with enthusiasm, others, including writers at Time and the Huffington Post, saw it as a step backwards, even a regression.

As for the show's former 16-year host, after more than a year of twiddling his thumbs since successor Trevor Noah signed on, it doesn't seem like he's taking any risks or being bold. But it still makes considerable sense on both sides, as Stewart reclaims a prominent platform in an election year and Comedy Central benefits not only from his skills as an artist but perhaps more importantly , as a proven developer of comedic talent.

While it's easy to forget, the sons and daughters of The Daily Show make up a truly impressive roster, including Noah, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, John Oliver, Samantha Bee, Jessica Williams, Rob Riggle, Jason Jones and Jordan Klepper.

In his final episode in 2015, Stewart spoke proudly about the talent that came through those doors, while Colbert praised his former boss for being incredibly good at his job.

Stewart hasn't exactly been dormant during his time in the wilderness, doggedly advocating for veterans and hosting a show for Apple TV+, The Problem with Jon Stewart. Yet that show never really caught on, and he didn't enjoy the same cultural footprint he had during his time at Comedy Central, where he became one of the most popular watchers savvy about politics and the media, delivering balm four evenings a week. spirit and common sense essential to those who shared his criticisms and concerns.

Assuming this new setup amounts to a temporary, stop-gap arrangement, the real benefit for Comedy Central is less Stewart's Rachel Maddow-style early-week presence than the talent he's shown for cultivating future hosts and stars and unlike Oliver, who exploited his daily life. Showcase on an HBO show, finding a way to keep these actors in the networks fold.

Host Jon Stewart at

Amazingly, The Daily Show and its alumni have received every Emmy for outstanding variety series for more than 20 years, dating back to 2003. Stewart's old version won 10 times in a row, The Colbert Report twice, and Stewart had an encore in 2015 before Oliver's last. Week Tonight began its seven-year streak, until it moved to another category and the Television Academy honored the swan song of Noah's Daily Show.

Even on a part-time basis, Stewart is expected to generate the kind of viral clips and buzz that have increasingly become a key currency for such franchises, despite the significant erosion and dilution of linear television's influence during his prolonged absence .

Certainly, this dynamic is a reminder that Stewart is returning to a very different media and entertainment environment than the one that existed when he left Comedy Central. Just think about how terms like MAGA and streaming have evolved in the years since.

Stewart isn't the first person in the entertainment industry (or even the first late-night host) to realize that a former job was pretty good. Sometimes you can go home, and sometimes you can't.

Given all of this, it's easy to see why some critics would conclude that Comedy Central simply took a look down the road looking to return to the future, instead of starting from scratch by betting on someone new.

Yet this ignores Stewart's track record of supporting those who can and have credibly filled his shoes. Besides, even if the reunion doesn't go as planned, amid some troubling moments, the network has at least bought itself and Stewart's admirers a few extra moments of zen.

The Daily Show marks the return of Jon Stewart on February 12 at 11 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

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