Jon Stewart’s Return To Television Will Be Animated. | Gradient

Jon Stewart’s return to television will be animated.

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Details have been eking out about Jon Stewart’s long awaited, highly anticipated, desperately needed return to television, but they were scant. We already knew Stewart would be joining his old protégé John Oliver over at HBO, and that was about it. On Saturday, we got a treasure trove of details, all of which make it sound like this is going to be very different project from The Daily Show. In fact, it’ll be different from just about anything on TV.

“He is establishing an animated studio,” said Casey Bloys, HBO’s head of programming. “He wants to get material out on a daily basis. The idea is that it’s an animated parody of a cable news network in an Onion-like portal. It will be his voice, in his actual voice, and his tone.”

Bloys later clarified that the phrase “Onion-like” is pretty literal. There’s going to be a written component to the show, in addition to an actual 30-minute program on HBO. That all makes it sound like Stewart is doubling down on a full-fledged news site parody, with written and televised portions.

It’s good news for fans of political comedy, but it’s also nice to see that Stewart and HBO are willing to stretch the bounds of what news satire might look like. The HBO team has proved themselves to be savvy purveyors of news comedy with Last Week Tonight and Stewart’s recent turn behind the Colbert desk showed that he hasn’t lost an inch of his wit or fire.

That said, Stewart’s model of news satirization was based on the 24-hour news cycle — a model that grows ever more dated as digital media becomes increasingly the world’s primary source for journalism. The Onion has met the digital revolution with Clickhole, and it’s been an incredible success. For him to create a fresh news parody site that’s truly relevant to today’s news the way The Daily Show was at its peak, he’ll have to tap into the fact that television itself is a dinosaur in the industry. Animation may be the key.

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