In easily the best news of the week, if not November in total, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmation that Jon Stewart, arguably the most influential comedian of the last decade, with Louis C.K. in a close second, will be coming to HBO in a hugely promising four-year production deal at the network. His oversight will include a myriad of short-form content for subscribers to HBO Go and HBO Now, but will also include a first-look deal with the channel on TV and movie projects.
This, of course, also means that Stewart will be joining his most brilliant disciple, John Oliver, who has been hitting nothing but home runs on the channel’s Last Week Tonight, where he takes a similar but by no means identical perspective as Stewart on subjects ranging from evangelists and Canadian politics to D.C. statehood and food waste. It’s unlikely that Stewart will be doing something too akin to Oliver’s show, but this deal speaks to the freedom that HBO presumably gives talent the likes of Stewart and Oliver when they sign them up. Mind you, Stewart was essentially going to swear off any major television commitments before this, following his exit from The Daily Show, only heading back to the format to (phenomenally) host Summer Slam alongside Arrow himself Stephen Amell.
There’s really no telling what Stewart’s HBO content will look like but it will almost certainly involve topical politics in some form, and there’s really nothing that I could possibly be more anticipated about than to see how this pact unfurls. Trevor Noah has been doing an increasingly strong job over at The Daily Show, as has Stephen Colbert on The Late Show and the aforementioned Oliver on his indispensable program, but there’s a distinct timber of befuddled exasperation and hangdog hope to Stewart’s view that’s been sorely missed in the television landscape in the wake of his departure. At least now, we know it won’t be too long before the king returns.