By the end of the year, our late night television landscape will be wholly changed. With the departures of David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, and the hirings of Stephen Colbert and (a little less new) Seth Meyers, late night TV is going through a massive shift, and yesterday we received the sad news that what looked to be our one stalwart—our shining beacon of hope, if you will—will be departing his program as well: Jon Stewart.
I think Elizabeth Warren put it best when she tweeted, “Washington is rigged for the big guys – and no person has more consistently called them out for it than Jon Stewart.” While he’s maybe not a traditional “news man”, he’s done more to shape the landscape of how the media covers our country’s goings-on than some longtime anchors. His is a voice that will be sorely, sorely missed, but during the announcement of his exit on last night’s episode of The Daily Show, Stewart shed a little light on why he’s vacating the seat.
Since Stewart returned from his first-ever sabbatical from the show last summer (during which he directed Rosewater), he’s seemed a bit less enthusiastic, less energized. Stewart himself described feeling “restless”, saying the show and its viewers deserve a host that is anything but, and so he is departing the series later this year after 17 years at the desk, giving someone else a chance to make the show their own. It’s almost perfect that it’s happening in 2015, as I’m sure Stewart wants to give his replacement a leg-up by letting him or her lead off with coverage of the 2016 election.
Stewart’s announcement was a tearful one, and unsurprisingly heartfelt. The audience had no idea this was coming, so there’s also an added degree of tension in the proceedings. The host says he’ll be leaving either in July, September, or even December, so we’ve still got some time left with one of the brightest guys in the business. Time to savor it.
Watch Stewart’s The Daily Show announcement below.