11:35am PT by Michael O'Connell
HBO Locks Down John Oliver for Two More Seasons of 'Last Week Tonight'
Anybody thinking there was still a chance that John Oliver might get the soon-to-be-vacant host gig on The Daily Show can move right along. HBO has locked down the host for at least two more seasons of the popular Last Week Tonight.
“We are incredibly proud to have John as part of the HBO family,” said HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. “His unique ability to deliver socially significant commentary week after week, along with his innate comedic brilliance, puts John in a class by himself.”
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It's probably no coincidence that HBO re-upped with Oliver just one week after news broke that Jon Stewart would be retiring from The Daily Show. Oliver left his correspondent gig at the Comedy Central series in 2013 for a two-year pact with HBO after a wildly successful stint guest-hosting for Stewart. And though few expected that Oliver would depart his incredibly successful pay cable upstart, which has been a boon to the network's Sunday nights and web presence, his name was nonetheless floated as soon as Stewart's exit was announced.
Last Week Tonight was a hit out of the gate in 2014, reinvigorating the talk format with Oliver devoting the bulk of each episode to one topic. HBO has been anxious to share the show with subscribers and nonsubscribers alike, posting Oliver's main segment on YouTube the Monday after each new episode. The second season, which began Feb. 8, will run for 35 episodes in Sunday's 11 p.m. time slot.
Oliver saw his first-season ratings climb past 4 million weekly viewers, with original telecasts, encores, on-demand, HBO Go plays and DVR taken into account. The series, which tapes in New York, is produced for HBO by Avalon Television.
Just last month, HBO gave a similar commitment to Last Week's Friday night counterpart, the long-running Real Time With Bill Maher.