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Jon Stewart basically says he returned to The Daily Show because Apple censored him

Updated Feb 12th, 2024 11:38PM EST
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
Image: Scott Kowalchyk/CBS via Getty Images

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We apparently have Apple TV+ to thank for Jon Stewart’s much anticipated return to Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, with tonight marking the first time he’s occupied the anchor desk during the network’s flagship news show since leaving in 2015.

Stewart will be hosting the show on Mondays throughout the 2024 election season, and it turns out there are at least two reasons why: Apple, and China.

Specifically, before Apple cancelled his Apple TV+ talk show The Problem With Jon Stewart last year, the comedian reportedly got into it with the iPhone maker over the content of three episodes he planned which would have addressed China (as well as Israel and artificial intelligence). Apple had concerns, there was a disagreement behind closed doors about which we only heard bits and pieces, and then the plug was pulled on Stewart’s show (in Stewart’s telling, just to be clear, Apple cancelled it).

The fact that China was one of the topics Apple had a problem with, though, rankled lawmakers enough that some of them went so far as to write to CEO Tim Cook about it. “While companies have the right to determine what content is appropriate for their streaming service, the coercive tactics of a foreign power should not be directly or indirectly influencing these determinations,” the leaders of the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Competition with the Chinese Communist Party wrote in a letter to Cook.

Apple has always had what I continue to regard as an unfortunate relationship with China, a country that obviously remains a strategic enemy of the US. I’ve written in more detail about this odd look for the company under Cook here. Stewart, meanwhile, has in a new interview reiterated that Apple more or less censored him, and that’s why his show there ended and he’s now back on Comedy Central.

“I wanted a place to unload thoughts as we get into this election season,” Stewart said in a CBS Mornings segment ahead of his first broadcast as the returning albeit temporary host of The Daily Show. “I thought I was going to do it over at — they call it Apple TV+. It’s a television enclave, very small. It’s like living in Malibu. But they decided … they felt that they didn’t want me to say things that might get me in trouble.”

Here’s footage from Stewart’s first monologue back as host. Worth noting: Stewart seems to take a subtle swipe at Apple, noting that he’s got shows planned in which he’ll talk about … China, Israel, and AI.

For more context about Apple’s concerns over what Stewart might have said about China during his Apple TV+ show, consider:

Based on the company’s most recent earnings data, China represents almost a fifth of Apple’s sales. It’s also the company’s fastest-growing market. Moreover, Apple’s sales in China increased 8% between April and June, a period that saw declining sales in the company’s home market in the US.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.

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