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John Oliver reflects on Daily Show exit: ‘They didn’t care about me’

John Oliver has opened up about his exit from The Daily Show in 2013, suggesting that had the network allowed for him to continue hosting the summer segments, the main host Jon Stewart likely would’ve stayed longer too.

The Emmy-winning Last Week Tonight host, 46, joined Comedy Central’s satirical news program in 2006 as its senior British correspondent. He also stood in for Stewart for two months in 2013, before quitting at the end of the year.

“I didn’t stay at The Daily Show because Jon was still there and Comedy Central didn’t care about me,” Oliver said on a recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

“My contract expired at the end of the year that I hosted for Jon over that summer. And I think it became clear at the end of that, that they didn’t really care about me,” the comedian continued.

Oliver explained that the plan had been for him to become the permanent summer host to give Stewart time off.

The network, however, was “not interested in that at all”, Oliver said, adding: “Which is fine, but it is now painfully obvious.

“I think they could have had [Stewart] for longer if they’d allowed that.”

John Oliver and Jon Stewart (Getty Images)
John Oliver and Jon Stewart (Getty Images)

Following his Daily Show departure, Oliver went on to front his own HBO series, Last Week Tonight, which is preparing to enter its 11th season on Sunday (18 February).

Stewart took over The Daily Show in 1999 from original host Craig Kilborn. He eventually left the show in 2015, handing over the reins to South African comedian Trevor Noah.

Noah helmed the show from 2015 until 2022, when he signed off for the last time.

Last month, it was announced that Stewart would return to host The Daily Show for the duration of the 2024 US Presidential election cycle.

He will make his comeback as the series’s regular Monday night host on 12 February. The rest of the week will be hosted by Daily Show correspondents, such as Desi Lydic, Michael Kosta, Ronny Chieng and Jordan Klepper.

Oliver reacted to Stewart’s “surprise” return, saying: “That’s a show that needs a host. He certainly is a very, very good one. So yeah, it’ll be exciting to see what he does.”

He added that “after 2025, they should appoint a permanent host”, naming another correspondent Roy Wood Jr and former Peacock host Amber Ruffin as suitable replacements.

“But it’s going to be very exciting to see Jon again in an election year, as well. That is watchable,” Oliver quipped.