Report: ‘The Problem With Jon Stewart’ On Apple TV+ Abruptly Cancelled After Two Seasons Over Creative Differences
Jon Stewart’s The Problem on the Apple TV+ streaming service may be in trouble, as several sources claim that the multinational technology company will not be renewing the series for a third season over creative differences with the comedian.
Per a report from The New York Times, “people with knowledge of the decision” point to creative clashes between Apple and Stewart soured their partnership, claiming that both parties agreed to part ways in recent days. The outlet’s sources also reveal that other members of the staff were just informed about the decision in the middle of October.
Elaborating on the creative differences between the former Daily Show host and Apple executives, the disagreements included topics of debate — which some sources claim were related to China and artificial intelligence — as well as guests on the show. Interestingly, topics regarding the upcoming 2024 presidential campaign was also a cause of concern for Apple executives.
Another one of the sources revealed that filming for the episodes of the show’s third season were scheduled to begin in just a few more weeks, lending credence to the abruptness of the decision to have the series cancelled. A representative for Apple, The New York Times reports, declined to make comments regarding the situation.
It isn’t surprising that Apple executives and Stewart couldn’t find common ground in regards to the direction the series should take moving forward. In December of 2021, the comedian found himself in hot waters after accusing Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling of promoting anti-Semitism in her books.
Stewart referenced The Protocols of the Elders of Zion during an episode of his eponymously named podcast, as he suggested Rowling had based the designs of the goblins in Harry Potter on the aforementioned book.
“Let me show you this. 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,’” he noted.
Stewart went on, “J.K. Rowling was like, ‘Can we get these guys to run our bank?’ 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.”
Newsweek reported on the comedian’s video and as soon as his comments received backlash, Stewart was quick to go into full damage control and deny he ever accused Rowling of promoting anti-Semitic views in Harry Potter, claiming that he was only having a “light-hearted conversation” with his co-hosts.
“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,” Stewart declared.
He continued, “This morning I wake up. It’s trending on Twitter. And here’s the headline from Newsweek: ‘Jon Stewart Accuses J.K. Rowling of Antisemitism.'”
“So let me just say this. Super clearly, as clearly as I can. Hello, my name is Jon Stewart. I do not think J.K. Rowling is anti-Semitic,” he reassured. “I did not accuse her of being anti-Semitic. I do not think that the Harry Potter movies are anti-Semitic.”
In April of that same year, The Problem with Jon Stewart’s situation seemingly took a turn for the worse when reports indicated that the comedian’s podcast was struggling to find an audience — with already disappointingly low viewership numbers dropping even further.
Per information collected by Samba TV, via Bloomberg, Stewart’s eponymously named talk show saw a 78% drop in viewership numbers since its premiere in September of 2021.
Apple TV+’s Head of Documentaries and Unscripted Television Molly Thompson disagreed with the report, 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.”
Adding insult to injury, Stewart was once again at the centre of yet another controversy when he compared playing the American national anthem before sporting events, tastelessly comparing this tradition to a “regimen” of sorts.
“You know, I’ve always thought about when [Colin] Kaepernick took the knee and the whole thing was like ‘You got to stand for the anthem.’ Now I imagine, like, in living rooms guys are getting nachos ready and the f—ing wings, and then the anthem comes on and they all just have to [stand up],” he said in another episode.
Stewart elaborated, “Like, why is that then when the anthem comes on you only have to stand if you’re there, but the transitive principle through the television…if it’s through the television you could do whatever the f—k you want. You could take a s—t during the national anthem as a patriot,” before concluding, “But, if you’re at the stadium you must…there’s like a whole regimen that you have go through.”
What do you make of Stewart’s show being cancelled?