According to a recent report, comedian Jon Stewart’s new Apple+-exclusive talk show has thus far failed to find an audience, with his disappointingly low viewership numbers failing to even graze those held by his contemporaries.
As reported by SambaTV via Bloomberg on April 18th, around 180,000 homes in the United States tuned in to watch The Problem with Jon Stewart when it made its debut on Apple TV+ back in September of 2021.
However, as seen in Samba TV’s metrics, audiences soon lost interest in Stewart’s eponymously-named talk show, with only 40,000 U.S. homes – a 78% drop in viewership numbers since its premiere – tuning in to watch the show’s fifth episode
Asked for comment on SambaTV’s numbers, Apple TV+ head of documentaries and unscripted television Molly Thompson disagreed with their findings, telling Bloomberg, “”We are thrilled that ‘The Problem with Jon Stewart’ has resonated with viewers all over the world.”
“The series has sparked complex conversations about critical issues, and we’re proud to team with Jon for season two and beyond,” she added.
While Apple TV+ has not shared official viewership numbers for The Problem with Jon Stewart, Bloomberg reports that numbers provided by Parrot Analytics show that the comedian’s program “is the eighth most in-demand talk show in the U.S.”
Further, the analytics site revealed that though audiences preferred Stewart’s show to those hosted by James Corden and Ellen DeGeneres, they liked it less than those helmed by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Trevor Noah.
Though unable to attract regular viewers, Stewart’s show has gleamed some attention from the public thanks to controversy, particularly the on that arose from his accusation last December that renowned author J.K. Rowling of promoting anti-Semitism in the Harry Potter series with her depiction of the goblins running Gringotts Bank.
“Here’s how you know Jews are still where they are,” said Stewart at the time. “Talking to people, what I say is, ‘Have you ever seen a Harry Potter movie?’ And people are all like, ‘I love Harry Potter movies!’ and I’m like, ‘You ever see the scenes in Gringotts Bank? Do you know what those folks that run the bank are? Jews.’”
Further, Stewart would even propose that Rowling was inspired by anti-Semitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion to conceive of her design for the mystical creatures.
“Let me show you this,” he continued. “It’s from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I just want to show a caricature, and they’re like, ‘Oh, look at that. That’s from Harry Potter, and you’re like ‘No. That’s a caricature of a Jew from an anti-Semitic piece of literature.’”
“J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’” said Stewart. “And you’re like, ‘This is…it’s a wizarding world. It’s a world where it’s like. The train station has a half thing and no one can see it. And we can ride dragons and you’ve got a pet owl. Who should run the bank? Jews.'”
Though the controversial accusation was made in December 2021, it was not until January 2022 that users on social media took notice of this particular clip and began to counter-criticize Stewart for his unfounded comments.
Near immediately after facing this backlash, Stewart issued an apology and attempted to explain what he really meant.
“If you remember, like, a month ago I recorded one of the podcasts with Henrik and Jay, and we were bulls—tting all kinds of stuff,” recalled the comedian in the following episode of his show. “We started talking about Bar Mitzvah, and then Jay said something like, ‘What chapter of Harry Potter is that?’ and we went off on a Harry Potter thing,”
Stewart explained, “There is no reasonable person that could’ve watched it and not seen it as a light-hearted conversation amongst colleagues and chums having a laugh, enjoying ourselves about Harry Potter and my experience watching it for the first time in a theatre, as a Jewish guy, and how some tropes are so embedded in society that they’re basically invisible… even in a considered process like movie-making.”
Newsweek et al, may eat my ass. pic.twitter.com/eRoYYeNRi1
— Jon Stewart (@jonstewart) January 5, 2022
“So let me just say this,” Stewart then reassured. “Super clearly, as clearly as I can. Hello, my name is Jon Stewart. I do not think J.K. Rowling is anti-Semitic. I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. I do not think that the Harry Potter movies are anti-Semitic.”
He added, “I really love the Harry Potter movies. Probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age. So, I would just like to say that none of that is true, and not a reasonable person could not have looked at that conversation and not found it light-hearted.”
As it was Newsweek that first brought to light the comments made by the comedian during his show’s podcast, Stewart then proceeded to single out the news outlet and went rant against its business model.
“So let me say this, instead, to Newsweek,” he defiantly stated. “Your business model is f—king arson, and not the good kind of arson where they light stuff and control it to prevent forest fires in the future, the kind of arson where you’re on the mountain and you’ve got f—king five minutes and you don’t know where the dogs are.”
He further declared, “That’s your business model, and now all the s—theads pile into this ridiculously out of context nonsense that you put out there, and let me tell you, Newsweek, you used to mean something. You were my go-to at the airport when the kiosk was out of Time Magazine. BOOM! Roasted.”
What do you make of Stewart’s new talk show on Apple TV+ being a massive flop? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section down below or on social media.