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Why Jon Stewart's Daily Show Follow-Up Just Got Cancelled

jon stewart on hatewatch the daily show

When Jon Stewart exited The Daily Show a couple of years ago, a void was created that still hasn't quite been filled, either by Trevor Noah's reign or Stephen Colbert's Late Show work. And so much rejoicing happened when Stewart signed a huge deal with HBO, with the first official project meant to be an animated parody of cable news networks. Unfortunately, we're going to have to keep waiting for Stewart's TV return, as HBO has announced the promising project has been cancelled. Here's the reasoning, according to the network's statement.

HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential, but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material. We're excited to report that we have some future projects together, which you will be hearing about in the near future.

That's one bummer of an announcement, as Jon Stewart's arrival on HBO sounded like something crafted by TV gods whose supreme goals were to inform and amuse us. And when the project was first announced last summer, its lofty ambitions sounded a little too good to be true, but this is HBO we're talking about.

There were multiple goals involved, too, as this project was meant to be more than just a standalone animated series poking fun at the worlds of CNN and Fox News with an Onion-esque point of view. As the New York Times also reports, there were additionally supposed to be digital shorts released on a more regular basis that tapped into current events in amusing ways. It seemed like the shorts might make a jump to digital platforms, too, but now it's all gone belly up.

One can look at South Park and its ridiculously hectic and time-constrained schedule, and how that show successfully tackles topical subject matter on a regular basis, and then question why HBO and Jon Stewart's project didn't come together. But that would be getting picky, since it's obviously hard as hell to get top quality animation projects together quickly, which is why shows like The Simpsons will often get caught tackling months-old references and fads. If it took 18 months to figure out that it all took too long, I'd hate to see how long the actual production would take.

The silver lining here, obviously, is that the dissolution of this project isn't indicative of an overall breakup between Jon Stewart and HBO. The overall deal hinted that several different projects of varying formats would be on the table, so hopefully everything else in development will offer zero hinderances on the way from announcement to airing. We need more jokes about Arby's and Jimmy Dean sausages.

Thankfully, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been there to give Jon Stewart an occasional vehicle on which to show his face. As an executive producer, one would hope that he'd become a more regular part of the program, but it hasn't happened yet. We did recently get to see Stewart team up with other former Daily Show stars for a fantastic reunion on the late night series, which actually was solid enough to keep us sated for a while longer. But HBO, we don't mean "George R.R. Martin writing his next book" longer.

So we sadly won't be getting to hear Jon Stewart's voice or his jokes on HBO as soon as we thought we would, which is disappointing, but you can still find his former Daily Show cohort John Oliver on HBO on Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET, along with all kinds of other amazing shows on that network. And if you're looking for something else to get into, head to our summer TV schedule for everything premiering in the coming months.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.