Jon Stewart’s show on Apple’s streaming service is abruptly coming to an end, according to several people with knowledge of the decision, the result of creative differences between the tech giant and the former “Daily Show” host.
Mr. Stewart and Apple executives decided to part ways in recent days, two of the people said. Members of the show’s staff were informed about its end on Thursday. Taping of episodes for the third season was scheduled to begin within a couple of weeks, one of the people said.
The Apple show, “The Problem With Jon Stewart,” debuted to some fanfare two years ago as Mr. Stewart’s return to the talk show format after a six-year hiatus. As host of “The Daily Show” from 1999 to 2015, he turned a low-rated Comedy Central late-night series into a cultural force, becoming one of the nation’s best-known media and political critics.
But Mr. Stewart and Apple executives had disagreements over some of the topics and guests on “The Problem,” two of the people said. Mr. Stewart told members of his staff on Thursday that potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence were causing concern among Apple executives, a person with knowledge of the meeting said. As the 2024 presidential campaign begins to heat up, there was potential for further creative disagreements, one of the people said.
A representative for Apple declined to comment.
Apple’s foray into entertainment has raised the risk of collateral damage to its brand or estrangement of the diverse customers who buy its pricey iPhones and iPads. As of September, Apple TV+ had more than 19.8 million U.S. subscribers, according to data from the analytics firm Antenna, excluding deals with some distributors.
Delving into current events, as Mr. Stewart did on “The Problem,” could have put Apple at the center of the kinds of political and geopolitical controversies that other major corporations have confronted, including the way conservatives turned on Disney or liberals protested Starbucks over gun safety concerns. Though Apple hadn’t faced similar boycotts or criticism, the possibility was there with each episode — 20 in all.
In its two seasons, “The Problem” confronted several hot-button topics, including gun control and gender identity.
The show initially had difficulty gaining traction. By the second season, though, several interviews generated viral clips online, and the season was nominated for the outstanding talk series Emmy. (The prime-time Emmys ceremony is scheduled for Jan. 15.)
Now “The Problem” will join the many other talk shows that failed to survive in the streaming world, including ones hosted by Sarah Silverman, Norm Macdonald, Chelsea Handler and Joel McHale. Netflix, which made several attempts at a talk show, has moved on from the format.
Streaming shows usually depend on a significant shelf life, whereas cable and network talk shows lean on the urgency of a topical news cycle.
Liz Day contributed reporting.