Jon Stewart will not be returning to late night television as soon as fans had expected. The New York Times broke the news on Tuesday that his highly anticipated animated shorts project with HBO has been cancelled due to “technical issues.”
The original concept for the series was for Stewart to create animated shorts that would appear on the network’s digital apps, including HBO Go and HBO Now. The former The Daily Show host signed a deal with HBO in November 2015. The contract consists of a four year commitment from Stewart, which means he will remain working with the network on other projects.
The decision to cancel the project before it even began was mutually agreed on by both Stewart and HBO. The network said in a statement, “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.”
According to CNN, HBO programming president Casey Bloys previously planned on the program being ready to air by September or October. During a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour in July, Bloys stated, “[Stewart]’s establishing an animation studio because he wants to get material out multiple times a day.” He went on to explain, “The idea is it will be an animated parody of a cable news network, with kind of an Onion-like portal.” Bloys also stated that the animation format was appealing to HBO and Stewart because it would let him “comment in real-time during the day’s news events.”
Since Stewart’s departure from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show in 2015, in which he was replaced by Trevor Noah as host, he has noticeably stayed out of the spotlight with few television appearances. His new HBO show was expected to act as his big comeback to television. While Stewart’s appearance on HBO may be delayed, he is expected to continue sporadically showing up on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss current events and all matters involving President Donald Trump.
Other than working as the host of Comedy Central’s satirical news program from 1999 to 2015, Stewart has previously hosted MTV’s The Jon Stewart Show and You Wrote It, You Watch It. He also hosted the 78th an 80th Academy Awards.