Jon Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service is ending abruptly, the result of creative differences between the tech giant and the former “Daily Show” host, according to multiple people with knowledge of the decision.
Mr. Stewart and Apple executives decided to part ways in recent days, two of the people said. Staff members of the show 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.
The Apple show, “The Problem,” debuted to some fanfare two years ago when Mr. Stewart returned to the talk show format after a six-year hiatus. As host of “The Daily Show” from 1999 to 2015, he transformed the low-rated Comedy Central late-night series into a cultural force, and became one of the country’s best-known media and political critics.
But Mr. Stewart and Apple executives had disagreements over some of the topics and guests on “The Problem,” two people said. Mr. Stewart told members of his staff on Thursday that potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence were raising concerns among Apple executives, a person with knowledge of the meeting said. As the 2024 presidential campaign heats up, further constructive disagreements are likely, one person said.
An Apple representative declined to comment.
Apple’s entry into the entertainment sector increases the risk of additional damage to its brand or alienation of the diverse customers who buy its high-end iPhones and iPads. Excluding deals with some distributors, Apple TV+ had more than 19.8 million U.S. subscribers as of September, according to data from analytics firm Antenna.
Discussing current events in depth, as Mr. Stewart did in “The Problem,” could put Apple at the center of the political and geopolitical controversies that other major corporations have faced, including those by conservatives. Including the way Disney is shut down or liberals protesting Starbucks. Gun safety concerns. Although Apple did not face such boycotts or criticism, the possibility did with each episode – 20 in total.
Over its two seasons, “The Problem” tackled a number of hot-button topics, including gun control and gender identity.
The show initially had difficulty gaining popularity. However, by the second season, several interviews generated viral clips online, and the season was nominated for an Outstanding Talk Series Emmy. (The prime-time Emmys ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 15.)
Now “The Problem” will join a number of other talk shows that failed to survive in the streaming world, including shows hosted by Sarah Silverman, Norm Macdonald, Chelsea Handler and Joel McHale. Netflix, which made several attempts at talk shows, has moved on from the format.
Streaming shows typically depend on a significant shelf life, while cable and network talk shows depend on the immediacy of an occasional news cycle.
liz day Contributed to the reporting.