Most of the time, speculating about the future of a television series – especially one like The Daily Show, a nightly news show with a big pool of talent – feels a bit silly, even in the midst of the kind of shakeup the Comedy Central series is currently going through. Yet, as we get further away from host Jon Stewart’s imminent retirement announcement and closer to the actual end of the Stewart era, things aren’t looking heartening.
Stewart announced his retirement from the series last month, and despite some vague language and some strange confusion from his fanbase, Stewart’s future seems clear: the guy wants to be a filmmaker. What lies ahead for the show itself isn’t so obvious, however. Had Stewart announced his retirement even a year ago, The Daily Show not only enough internal talent already on staff – and, considering this has been a weird point of contention with people who don’t understand that correspondent Jessica Williams wasn’t being modest or afraid when she said she wasn’t ready to take on the hosting gig – but enough internal talent that was ready to take on the job to effectively fill the hole left by Stewart. Think Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Larry Wilmore, Jason Jones, and Samantha Bee, all of whom are knocked out of hosting by good news: they all have their own show.
So who is going to host The Daily Show now?
Bee is the latest to take her name out of the hat (if it was ever in the hat, and let’s be frank, her name should have been on the top of the hat, and no, I am not sure how this hat metaphor works anymore), thanks to yesterday’s news that the long-time correspondent and self-professed “America’s Canadian sweetheart” is due to host her own comedy show on TBS. As CNNMoney tells it, “the series is still in the early stages of development, but according to TBS it will be ‘a platform for Bee to apply her smart and satirical point of view to current and relevant issues.’” Bee will be the show’s host and executive producer, a move that only strengthens her ties with TBS, which looks to be hellbent on getting into the Bee and Jones business. (The couple have already set up a new series comedy at the network, which Jones will star in, pulling him away from The Daily Show and any hope we might have had for him to take over hosting duties.)
Yet, Deadline reports that TBS has now shared that Bee will “continue to do occasional pieces on The Daily Show until production begins on the new TBS comedy series she created with her husband and fellow correspondent, Jason Jones.” Still, “some sources caution Bee might still wind up staying with the Comedy Central show and will keep doing pieces for The Daily Show as her TBS project moves through the development process.” In Bee’s own words, “Lord thundering Jesus,” this is getting complicated.
Even if Bee stays on for a bit, she’s still out of the running to host. And you know who else is, too? Correspondents like Aasif Mandvi and Al Madrigal, as Deadline also reminds us that they too have other things going on, with Mandvi currently developing a series with HBO and Madrigal co-starring on NBC’s About A Boy. Suddenly, that deep Daily Show well looks kind of dry, though it’s hard to get too upset at talented people for landing cool jobs that they very much deserve.
Comedy Central has made it clear that they have a “short list” of possible candidates to replace Stewart (via the Associated Press and Huffington Post) which, and we’re just hoping here, likely isn’t made up entirely of people previously listed here who already have other jobs. Late night has been through plenty of shakeups over the past year, including the arrival of both Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers as host of their respective shows, the retirement of both David Letterman and Craig Ferguson, and Chelsea Handler’s decision to move from E! to Netflix, but that doesn’t mean that this stuff has gotten any easier for fans of each show.
Certainly, Deadline’s idea that Alec Baldwin could host The Daily Show doesn’t help either. At this point, we’d love for Comedy Central to start leaking out that short list, because we’re getting nervous here. Are we pulling for Jordan Klepper? Yes, yes, we are.