Jon Stewart Signs New Deal With HBO
Mere months after leaving The Daily Show, Jon Stewart signed a deal that will have in back in television at least in a limited capacity:
Three months after retiring as host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart has signed a production deal with the premium cable channel HBO, the channel announced on Tuesday.
As part of the arrangement, Mr. Stewart will work on some digital short projects that are expected to appear on HBO’s apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. Mr. Stewart could also pursue movie or television projects with the network. The contract covers four years.
HBO said that the first project from Mr. Stewart, done in conjunction with the graphics company Otoy, will be the digital shorts, which the cable channel said would be focused on current events and could be refreshed on its HBO Now app throughout the day.
The length of the shorts is still being discussed but they are expected to be between two and five minutes, an HBO spokeswoman said. Mr. Stewart will not appear on camera but viewers can expect to hear his voice on the shorts, the spokeswoman added.
“Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me,” Mr. Stewart said in a statement. “I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again.”
Mr. Stewart is the latest big name HBO has landed as it ramps up efforts to generate more content and bring in more sales for HBO Now, its $15-a-month stand-alone app. In March, HBO announced that Vice would produce a daily newscast, the first of its kind for the cable channel. (The former Bloomberg Businessweek editor Josh Tyrangiel was hired to run the show last month.) In July, HBO hired Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN, to host a talk show, and in August, HBO secured the rights to run new episodes of “Sesame Street.”
It seems unlikely that this will lead to Stewart returning to any kind of regular show, for the time being at least, but it does indicate that he isn’t quite done working notwithstanding the fact that he’s likely made more than enough money to retire comfortably. For HBO, of course, it’s another plum to attract viewers to both the cable subscription and internet subscription efforts. Additionally, of course, the move puts Stewart in the company of his old colleague John Oliver, who left The Daily Show last year and now hosts a weekly show on HBO very much in the style of his old gig. Of course, had Oliver stayed at Comedy Central it’s likely that he would have been offered Stewart’s chair, although I’m sure he finds doing a weekly show somewhat less taxing than the four nights a week Stewart was doing.