Apple TV+ has a new weapon in the streaming wars: a new Jon Stewart-hosted public affairs show and podcast.
Apple did not specify a debut date, but some reports indicate that the as-yet-unnamed show is expected to debut in 2021.
Each hour-long show will explore a single topic “of national interest,” and each season will have a companion podcast to “continue the discussion,” according to Apple.
Stewart’s Busboy Productions and former HBO executive Richard Plepler’s Eden Productions, which has an exclusive production deal with Apple TV+, with Stewart serving as the show’s executive producer.
Busboy also signed a deal giving it a first look at other potential Apple TV+ projects.
"Jon Stewart is considered one of America’s top social and comedic voices," Apple TV+ said in a statement, adding that he "redefined political satire in American culture" with "The Daily Show."
Stewart left “The Daily Show” in 2015 after a 16-year run, replaced as host by Trevor Noah.
Since then, Stewart has been visible mostly as a passionate advocate for continued national support for 9/11 first responders, and as the director of two films: a 2015 true-life Iranian prison drama, “Rosewater,” and 2020’s comedy “Irresistible.”
Apple TV+, launched last November 1 with a low-ball price of $4.99 per month, said it sought to be a complement for other streaming services, by focusing on original movies and shows, like the star-studded “The Morning Show.”
While still focused on originals, a la the Stewart deal, the streaming service — which has the disadvantage of a very small library compared to other majors — has in recent months reportedly had discussions with Hollywood studios about licensing content.
Apple doesn’t release subscriber numbers. Bloomberg estimated the service had 10 million subscribers as of February 2020, while Ampere Analysis estimated the end-of-2019 user total at 33.6 million — but with the “vast majority” being non-paying users on free trials.
Apple, which offered all buyers of its devices a free year of Apple TV+, is now faced with the possibility that a large number could fail to convert to paying subscribers, and is extending that free trial by three months for some users.