- Jon Stewart’s highly anticipated return to television with The Problem with Jon Stewart has come to an end, as he and Apple executives have decided to part ways.
- The show’s staff were informed about the show’s end, just as taping for the third season was set to begin.
- Apple had concerns about the subject matter Stewart planned to cover in the upcoming season, including China, Israel, and artificial intelligence.
Jon Stewart ruled the post-9/11 political comedy scene with his legendary run as the host of The Daily Show, a series which has led to the successful careers of numerous actors and comedians (Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Michael Che, Samantha Bee, Wyatt Cenac, Rob Corddry, Ed Helms, and many more). He left the show just before the candidacy of Donald Trump swept America, and swept Trump into office. Stewart’s long-awaited return to television came with the Apple TV+ series, The Problem with Jon Stewart in 2021. But now, it’s over.
According to The New York Times, “Mr. Stewart and Apple executives decided to part ways in recent days, two of the people said. Members of the show’s staff were informed about its end on Thursday. Taping of episodes for the third season was scheduled to begin within a couple of weeks, one of the people said.” CNN elaborated:
He told staff that the company had concerns about the subject matter Stewart planned for three shows during the upcoming season. Those topics included China, Israel and artificial intelligence.
It’s unclear where Stewart goes from here, but with his pedigree, he could likely do anything he’d like. Though whether he should do so with a behemoth of a company is another question.
The Problem with Jon Stewart (and Apple)
Admittedly, Stewart and Apple were an odd pair; as Salon put it in a recent article, “It was inevitable that Apple would have a problem with The Problem with Jon Stewart.” Stewart has always been an advocate for people over profits, and so Apple’s history of controversial practices is incongruous with Stewart’s political ethos.
Then again, Apple TV+ does feel like a distinct entity from the rest of Apple’s practices, and they have produced some of the most prestigious and acclaimed programming of recent years. It’s the same issue with Disney; people may ideologically or morally disagree with their practices, but they watch their titles.
Stewart, however, rightfully wanted creative control over The Problem with Jon Stewart, so when Apple voiced their concerns (at best) about Stewart tackling issues surrounding Israel, China, and artificial intelligence, it made sense that Stewart would rather shut things down than compromise. It also made sense that Apple shot down these subjects, considering its corporate ties with China, the fact that it’s likely one of the studios on the opposite side of actors striking over artificial intelligence, and the fact that Stewart has been vocal about Israel’s war crimes against Gazans and the Palestinian people in general. All three of these subjects obviously ruffled feathers with Apple. Hopefully, we’ll still get to hear Stewart’s opinions at some point, in some fashion.