The network announced that it would not proceed with the short-form digital venture that was supposed to comment on topical events. The problem comes from the difficulty of marrying the longer production times of the medium to the quick turnaround needed to stay newsworthy.
“HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material,” HBO and Stewart said in a joint statement on Tuesday. “We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together which you will be hearing about in the near future.”
In November 2015, a few months after leaving “The Daily Show” after 17 years, Stewart signed a four-year, cross-platform agreement with HBO, including a first-look option for his film and TV projects. In July 2016, the network announced the first venture’s format, animated shorts that would take on the news of the day, set inside the world of cable news.
The shorts would have be produced regularly, allowing Stewart to comment almost immediately on topics, and then gathered together to air as half-hour versions that would air on the linear HBO channel. This plan was met with some skepticism since animation notoriously has a longer production time, and even the guys at “South Park” have had to scramble to bring in episodes on time, especially when commenting on timely events like the presidential election.
According to Variety, the cloud graphics company OTOY Inc. had a new technology that should have facilitated a quicker turnaround for the segments.
This is disappointing news for fans who’ve missed Stewart’s voice and point of view on their TVs, but ever since leaving “The Daily Show,” he hasn’t been able to stay away completely from political commentary. He’s appeared on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and on TBS’ “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”