Jon Stewart Suddenly Splits With Apple on Talk Show

Sources: Host of streaming program 'The Problem' broke with tech giant over creative control
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2023 1:42 PM CDT
Jon Stewart Suddenly Splits With Apple on Talk Show
Jon Stewart attends the New York Knicks season home opener at Madison Square Garden on Oct. 21 in New York.   (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Jon Stewart has two seasons of his talk show The Problem With Jon Stewart, which streams on Apple TV+, under his belt—but it now looks like there won't be a third, at least not through Apple. Sources tell the New York Times that the 60-year-old former Daily Show host and the tech giant have cut ties suddenly over the streaming show, due to creative differences. It's said that staffers got word of the development on Thursday, just a couple of weeks before taping was set to start on the program's eight-episode third season.

One of the sources tells the Times that Stewart told staffers there'd been concern from Apple executives over certain planned show topics, including China and artificial intelligence. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Apple bigwigs had informed Stewart that he and Apple needed to be "aligned" when it came to program subjects, with Stewart demanding full creative control. Those sources say that when Apple warned him they might cancel the show if he didn't comply, Stewart chose to walk away first, rather than be "hamstrung."

It's not clear what exactly about China and AI may have caused Apple anxiety, but the Verge notes, "Considering how pointed criticality is a big part of what ultimately made The Problem ... a hit for Apple TV+ and how maintaining a cordial relationship with China is crucial to Apple's future plans for growth, it doesn't come as a shock to see the show hit the chopping block this way." The Times also notes Apple doesn't want to lose anyone from its diverse customer base, nor see damage to its brand, from any controversies. The Problem was nominated for five Emmys during its two-year run, including talk series. (More Jon Stewart stories.)

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