Jon Stewart to leave ‘The Daily Show’ later this year

Stewart has hosted the US satirical news programme since 1998

Jon Stewart has announced he is stepping down as host of The Daily Show.

Stewart has fronted the US satirical news programme since 1998, when he took over from original presenter Craig Kilborn. Stewart will remain with the show, which airs on US cable network Comedy Central each week night from Monday to Thursday, until later in the year.

“I’m going to miss being on television every day,” Stewart told the show’s audience last night (February 10). “I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They’re creative and collaborative and kind. It’s been the honour of my professional life, and I thank you for watching it, for hate-watching it, whatever reason you are tuning in for.”

During his tenure, The Daily Show has attracted audiences of up to 3.6 million viewers, around 80% of whom are aged between 18 and 49. Although it is conceived as a “fake news programme” offering a comically exaggerated take on current events, The Daily Show has been hailed as an important source of genuine news among young Americans. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Al Gore have all appeared as guests on the show.

Confirming Stewart’s departure, Comedy Central said in a statement: “Jon has been at the heart of Comedy Central, championing and nurturing the best talent in the industry, in front of and behind the camera. Through his unique voice and vision, The Daily Show has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come.

“Jon will remain at the helm of The Daily Show until later this year. He is a comic genius, generous with his time and talent, and will always be a part of the Comedy Central family.”