Jon Stewart has made his comeback to “The Daily Show” after a 12-week hiatus. During the first eight weeks of his absence John Oliver, Senior British Correspondent for the show, took over for the role of host while Stewart traveled to Jordan to make his directing debut with “Rosewater.”
Oliver began his temporary job in early August and though it was foreseen that the summer would not bring much controversy, Oliver’s first day proved that theory wrong as he tackled the NSA snooping scandal, gay marriage, Paula Deen, immigration, the royal baby and Anthony Weiner. Skeptical fans were left feeling confident that Stewart had left the show in competent hands.
During his short term, Oliver’s work for the show was praised by many including The Observer which claimed that “he’s a breath of fresh air for Comedy Central’s political satire;” and The Wrap which said that the show was “as sharp as ever.” Furthermore, according to L.A. Biz, ratings for Oliver were solid and even improved slightly.
Now that Stewart is back in the driver’s seat, the question is: would “The Daily Show” be better off with or without him? I think the show is better with him and here’s why.
Over the 14 years that Stewart has manned the job, he was won 18 Prime Time Emmy awards, and back in 2009 was named America’s Most Trusted Newsman – post-Cronkite – after been selected in a poll done by Time Magazine.
Although Stewart is not a journalist, but a comedian, he has managed to guide the attention of younger generations towards political matters that they would otherwise be unaware of due to a lack of interest in news matters. According to a 2010 report by the Pew Center, “The Daily Show” was found to be one of the shows with the youngest audiences of any outlet included in the survey, with 55% of its public being ages 18 to 49.
On social media, the answers from the public to Stewart’s return mostly read: we love John Oliver, but are glad to have Jon Stewart back.
And the TV ratings were also parallel to those statements. According to TV by the Numbers, Stewart’s return on Tuesday night garnered over two million total viewers, an increase of 24 percent over the show’s season-to-date average.
Here is a little piece of the host’s successful return.
Although, Oliver managed to have a great eight weeks, I think it was in part due to the fact that it was a temporary gig. Many fans love John Oliver, but they think that he should have his own show – as seen in the public’s responses on “The Today Show’s” article “John Oliver says goodbye to hosting ‘Daily Show’” – not take over “The Daily Show.”
What Stewart’s sabbatical has taught us is that the show could survive without him, but (and this is a huge but) until he decides to retire from the show by his own choice, fans don’t want anyone else but him. Plus, after Oliver’s great success as an interim host, I’m sure that Stewart is more than ever on his toes.