After more than 16 years as the anchor of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart announced Tuesday night that he will be leaving the show. "I'm not going anywhere tomorrow," Stewart said as he announced his plans at the conclusion of Tuesday night's show. "But this show doesn't deserve even a slightly restless host, and neither do you."
Stewart is one of America's most revered figures, and to many people he has become more than the host of a nightly news program—he has been a voice of reason and a source of laughter during troubling times.
Through his work on The Daily Show, Stewart helped launched the careers of many others including Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Larry Wilmore. His insightful, biting blend of news and satire captured the attention of a young and loyal audience, leading The Daily Show to numerous awards and accolades including nearly two dozen Emmys.
The departure of a beloved figure from a program or company he/she helped build can sometimes be messy. While Stewart's exit is far from complete, the announcement was done seamlessly as far as a communications strategy goes.
As the taping of Tuesday night's show (which is done hours in advance of its 11 PM airing) was coming to a close, Comedy Central released this statement, announcing Stewart would be leaving the program and thanking him for the "incredible honor and privilege of working" with him. The audience didn't know what was coming when Stewart broke the news at the conclusion of the taping, and their audible reactions ("We love you Jon!") made the on-camera announcement all the more memorable and humbling.
Stewart and Comedy Central have not ironed out the exact details of his departure, and the host was understandably mum on what he will do after the show, although many are speculating that he could be a candidate to replace the recently-suspended Brian Williams on NBC. It's clear that Stewart will be moving on sometime soon and, in the meantime, Comedy Central has some succession planning to do.
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