Jon Stewart: Apple TV+ Axed My Show to Avoid Controversy

Exploring Jon Stewart's Departure Amidst Content Controversies.

by Nouman Rasool
Jon Stewart: Apple TV+ Axed My Show to Avoid Controversy
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Acclaimed comedian and political commentator Jon Stewart let loose in an interview with "CBS Mornings" why he's so anticipated to rehost his show "The Daily Show" on Comedy Central. The host, known for his biting wit and political satire, held the job originally from 1999 until 2015 and now is set to host Monday episodes during the critical 2024 election cycle.

Stewart's decision to make a comeback follows his departure from Apple TV+ where his last effort, "The Problem With Jon Stewart," was abruptly canceled last year. "I just needed a place to unpack the way that I'm feeling as we go into this election season," Stewart said, emphasizing how much this meant to him to have a place to say that.

But, humorously, he likened Apple TV+ to a kind of "television enclave," like living in Malibu. This, he suggested, had its own reservations about him voicing potentially controversial opinions. "They just didn't want me to be saying things that could have caused trouble," Stewart added, hinting at possible restraints he faced during his time at Apple.

Stewart's Show: Creative Clashes

The first season of The Problem With Jon Stewart aired in 2021 and it demonstrated the potential of Stewart to deliver, successfully, one topic per show. The second season was to be scheduled after the originally bi-weekly shows of the first year were changed to a weekly schedule.

But the leaves behind articles from both Variety and The New York Times that suggest creative differences — and those that in particular relate to sensitive topics like A.I. and China — could have been the reason Stewart walked away.

Notably, members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked Apple's Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook if the decision to pull the show was done out of fear for an episode on China. The question only reflects broader fears that American media companies could be influenced, albeit indirectly, by foreign powers.

Stewart never really addressed those rumors head-on, although he did confess to feeling hamstrung at Apple TV+—a feeling, after all, effectively led him right back to "The Daily Show." He said he wants to provide people "catharsis" in the middle of the campaign season, giving them funny and thoughtful takes.

Stewart also gave a shout-out to his team at "The Daily Show," particularly mentioning showrunner Jen Flanz, the great job she does, and all the talented writers and producers on the show.