HBO, which launched its first over-the-top streaming service this year with the debut of HBO NOW, has just scored a notable new deal with former Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, who will be tasked with creating “timely short-form digital content” for HBO NOW, HBO GO and other platforms, the network announced today. The exclusive four-year production pact will begin with a project involving Stewart creating content focused on current events that will be refreshed on HBO NOW multiple times per day.
Other projects may follow, but have yet to be announced. The deal also includes a first-look option for other film and TV ventures, HBO says.
Stewart and team will be using technology from the cloud graphics company OTOY Inc. in order to develop the content, which HBO describes as Stewart’s view of current events “through his unique prism.”
“I’m so excited to be working with Richard [Plepler], Michael and the entire HBO family,” Stewart said in a prepared statement. “Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again,” he joked.
“Jon Stewart led a revolution that changed the face of TV comedy on the ‘Daily Show,’” said Michael Lombardo, President of HBO Programming. “He graced our network nearly 20 years ago, so we’re thrilled to welcome back his immense talents in this next chapter of his career.”
The deal comes at a time when HBO has been expanding its roster of programming in order to better compete with streaming service rivals like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. This has included deals for different types of content beyond its traditional fare, including children’s programming as with the Sesame Street deal; news programming, thanks to a deal with VICE; sports with the high-profile deal with Grantland’s Bill Simmons; and even web series, thanks to the acquisition of the Vimeo show “High Maintenance.”
Now it seems HBO is looking to bring in the late-night crowd, too. With the addition of Stewart, the network has three late-night TV hosts in its lineup, including also John Oliver and Bill Maher. However, unlike the other hosts, Stewart’s content won’t – yet, at least – include full-length episodes as with The Daily Show.
Stewart, who became the Daily Show host in 1999, left earlier this year. The series recently won 3 Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Variety Talk Series, and has received 23 Emmys to date. Stewart has appeared on HBO in the past, prior to this deal, including in specials like Jon Stewart: Unleavened, as the host of George Carlin: 40 Years of Comedy, and Mr. Show with Bob and David. He also had a recurring role on The Larry Sanders Show.