It’s been five and a half years since Jon Stewart left The Daily Show, ending a tenure that saw him ascend, in the eyes of some fans, to the level of minor god in the world of political comedy. In the intervening years, Stewart has tried his hand at a number of new vocations: Film director, recurring Late Show prophet, cattle wrangler. But we always knew that he’d likely be back some day to the comforting bosom of television from whence he sprang, and now we know when said day will be. Sort of, anyway. (It’ll be sometime this fall.)
This is per Apple, which announced today that Stewart’s new series, The Problem With Jon Stewart, will arrive on streaming TVs this autumn, bringing Stewart back to a world of comedy and commentary that he and his disciples helped shape. It’s not for nothing that The Problem—described as “a multiple season, one-hour, single-issue series”—sounds very much like the shows former Daily Show correspondents like John Oliver, Hasan Minaj, and Wyatt Cenac have all hosted in recent years, deep dives into topics deserving of more than the time afforded to a glib monologue joke. (It’s not clear, meanwhile, if that “single-issue” descriptor means Stewart’s tackling a single issue per episode, or per season, but either way, the intent to blend journalism and comedy in a familiar package is obviously there.)
Apple signed a first-look deal with Stewart last year, after a previous deal with HBO failed to produce a number of promised projects, including an animated series and a pair of stand-up specials. Apple, obviously, is banking on Stewart’s continued appeal, but there’s a clear question at play here: Is that love still actually operative? The Trump era, which Stewart mostly sat out, was exceedingly hard on the idea that political satire, in and of itself, had the ability to effect real-world change—once a core part of the Daily Show appeal. Is Stewart’s particular, and once-potent, blend of sharp comedy, moral outrage, and intentional absurdity still in demand? We’ll presumably find out some time this fall, when The Problem With Jon Stewart arrives.