Jon Stewart and HBO Scrap His Eagerly Awaited, Long-Delayed Animated Series

The comedian remains under contract to the network through 2019

While Jon Stewart won't be on HBO anytime soon, he's expected to continue his regular appearances on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

Jon Stewart’s eagerly anticipated post-Daily Show television project—an animated series that was supposed to debut in time for last fall’s presidential election—isn’t going to see the light of day after all.

The premium cable network announced late Tuesday that it and Stewart are scrapping the deal, according to The New York Times.

“HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project,” 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.”

When HBO announced in November 2015 that it had landed Stewart’s post-Daily Show television project, the deal was seen as a major coup. “Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again,” said Stewart in a statement at the time.

But the project turned out to be much harder than Stewart anticipated. Last summer, HBO programming president Casey Bloys told reporters that he expected Stewart’s show would be up and running by September or October, in time for the presidential election. The series would be “an animated parody of a cable news networks with an Onion-like portal,” said Bloys. “It allows him to comment in real time on what’s happening during the day’s news events.”

Instead, the election came and went with no further updates from HBO or Stewart about the series.

While the animated series is no more, Stewart will remain at HBO under the four-year first-look movie and TV deal he signed in 2015, according to the Times.

The aborted animated series is the latest of HBO’s much-heralded moves two years ago to shore up its unscripted programming—which included signing Bill Simmons to a big post-ESPN deal and creating a nightly news show from Vice—to fizzle out. Simmons’ talk show, Any Given Wednesday, was canceled after just four months, and Vice News Tonight, has yet to break out after launching last September.

While Stewart won’t be on HBO anytime soon, he’ll continue to pop up on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where he serves as executive producer. His most recent Late Show appearance came just two weeks ago, as part of a Daily Show reunion with Samantha Bee and John Oliver that helped the resurgent Late Show surpass Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show in total viewers for the full TV season, CBS announced Tuesday.

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