LOS ANGELES — Comedy Central is mulling a “short list” of replacements for “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, a decision that could affect how much influence the show has on the 2016 presidential campaign.
Also at issue: Whether Stewart, an executive producer for “Daily Show” as well as host, retains some role with the show that has helped shape attitudes toward politics and media and given campaigns an appealing forum to reach potential voters, especially younger ones.
“TBD,” said Doug Herzog, president of Viacom Entertainment Group, using the shorthand for “to be determined,” when asked if Stewart would keep a hand in. “It’s not out of the question.”
Stewart, 52, announced Tuesday that he will leave the host’s job this year, a move that had been closely held by him and the channel. The timing of his exit has yet to be determined, and Stewart did not say what he plans to do afterward.
“I think Jon wanted to get this off his chest and put it out there. He’s been carrying this for a little while, and now we’ll have to discuss” the next steps, Herzog said. “He’ll take a deep breath, as will we, and figure out what’s best for Jon Stewart and best for ‘The Daily Show,’ in that order.”
He declined to comment on when Stewart, whose contract is up this fall told Comedy Central of his decision to leave.
Herzog said “there’s a short list” of possible Stewart replacements, declining to provide specifics. It’s uncertain whether it includes former “Daily Show” correspondent John Oliver, who moved to HBO after successfully filling in for Stewart when he took a movie-making break.
Asked if Oliver is a candidate, Herzog’s reply was succinct. “John Oliver’s got a job.”
Herzog expressed measured optimism that “The Daily Show” and its “Indecision” campaign watch, a part of Comedy Central well before Stewart joined, will remain factors in the presidential election next year.