4:17pm PT by Hilary Lewis
Who Should Replace Jon Stewart as 'Daily Show' Host? (Poll)
Now that Jon Stewart has announced that he'll be stepping down as Daily Show host later this year, the question is: Who will replace him as host of the Comedy Central late-night program? Comedy Central seems committed to continuing the show that Stewart has hosted for more than 15 years since replacing original host Craig Kilborn. Network president Michele Ganeless said in her statement about Stewart's exit that "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." Viacom Entertainment Group president Doug Herzog said Wednesday that the channel has a "short list" of replacements, the Associated Press reported, but wouldn't name specific people on that list. A formal search, however, has yet to begin.
Still that hasn't stopped fans from speculating about who could fill Stewart's shoes.
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The show's current crop of correspondents would seem to be the most likely contenders to replace Stewart, in light of Comedy Central's pattern of promoting from within, giving former Daily Show castmembers Stephen Colbert and Larry Wilmore their own shows. Wilmore's Nightly Report has just launched and Colbert is set to take over for David Letterman as the host of CBS' Late Show, so both seem unlikely to return to The Daily Show. The same goes for John Oliver, who filled in for Stewart while he was off directing Rosewater in the summer of 2013, doing such a good job that HBO offered him his own show. Oliver has a two-year deal with the premium cable net and he's one year in. But Herzog seemed to indicate Oliver has moved on, telling the AP, when asked if Oliver was a candidate to replace Stewart, "John Oliver's got a job." Asked if that meant he wasn't under consideration, Herzog said, "I think he's spoken for."
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Among The Daily Show's current group of correspondents, Samantha Bee is the one who's been with the show the longest, which makes it seem like she's due for a promotion to the anchor chair. But when Stewart was out sick recently, it was Bee's husband and fellow correspondent Jason Jones who stepped in — at least until Bee insisted she should be the host and chained herself to the desk.
Jessica Williams, meanwhile, has a lot of support for the job online. There's even a petition with more than 1,000 signatures asking that Comedy Central make her the host. Syracuse director of media studies Robert Thompson told CNN he thought she should get the job "immediately." "I think someone like Jessica Williams, … who's a part of the family, could do some really fascinating things," he said. CNN also has speculated that former Daily Show castmember Olivia Munn could do well in the anchor chair. If The Daily Show went for a current correspondent, that would seem to make for a fairly seamless transition and, depending on when Stewart plans to step down, they'd have plenty of time to groom his successor. Comedy Central could also promote from within in a different way by moving Amy Schumer to The Daily Show.
Among the outside contenders, a popular choice on social media is "Weekend Update" alum Amy Poehler, whose NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation is ending later this month. Poehler also executive produces Comedy Central's Broad City, so she already has strong relationships at the network. Of course, she also has several other things on her plate. Fellow high-profile talent (and SNL alum) Chris Rock is another (perhaps unlikely) possibility. Joel McHale has shown he's adept at skewering TV on E!'s The Soup, and he demonstrated his political comedy chops when he hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner last year. However, his E! deal runs through 2016. Both McHale and Aisha Tyler were bandied about as possible replacements for Craig Ferguson when he stepped down from CBS' Late Late Show. Other established names from outside the show who could take the anchor chair include Sarah Silverman and Aziz Ansari.
Who do you think should sit in Jon Stewart's seat? Vote in the poll below.