The Daily Show needs a new host. Here are 7 possible replacements for Jon Stewart.

Jon Stewart is leaving a big hole at Comedy Central. It won't be that hard to fill.

The race to replace Jon Stewart is on
(Image credit: Ilya S. Savenok, Theo Wargo, Ethan Miller, Rick Kern, Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show without an heir apparent. His most obvious replacements, Stephen Colbert and John Oliver, already have their own, arguably higher-profile, TV shows either in the works or on the air. (Colbert isn't going to pre-emptively ditch the post-Letterman Late Show to return to basic cable.) Steve Carell, another alumnus, was just nominated for an Oscar, and seems to have left TV for movie-stardom (at least for now).

Still, there are a handful of people who might have the right skills and comedic touch to fill Stewart's smallish (but metaphorically huge) shoes behind the Daily Show anchor desk. Here's a rundown of a few possible replacements.

1. Seth Meyers

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"108237","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"598","style":"margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"600"}}]](Peter Kramer/NBC/Getty Images)

Seth Meyers isn't going to get a promotion at NBC anytime soon. Hosting Late Night led Jimmy Fallon to The Tonight Show desk, but Meyers (41) is actually a year older than Fallon (40), and if the past is any guide, Fallon won't be vacating late-night TV's highest perch anytime soon. On the other hand, Meyers has experience sitting behind a satirical news desk, as anchor of Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," and his time as head writer for SNL gives him a rare qualifications to manage a team of comedy writers.

Meyers isn't known for his hard-hitting satire and interview style, but SNL did its share of hardball comedy under his watch, and just as Stewart grew into his role as America's pre-eminent media and political critic, Meyers might too.

2. Samantha Bee and Jason Jones

Hey, a male-female anchor desk worked at "Weekend Update." Sam Bee and Jason Jones would bring continuity to the show, and as real-life wife and husband, they have some sort of chemistry. Their trial run as co-anchors (when Stewart had the flu last year) was pretty funny, as well as a tacit admission that neither half is a good fit to carry the show by herself (Bee might pull it off).

It might be fun to give The Daily Show a Lucy-and-Desi flavor. It might be terrible for the Bee-Jones marriage. And Comedy Central will probably look for an outside candidate.

3. Brian Williams

Never underestimate serendipity. Sure, most lead network news anchors retire to lives of quiet contentment or solemn pontification (Brit Hume, Tom Brokaw), but some have second acts (Dan Rather). If Brian Williams can't stay in the anchor chair at NBC — and his six-month suspension is a bad sign — taking over at The Daily Show is arguably a better career shift than carrying on with straight news at RT (like Larry King) or AXS TV (Rather).

Williams has proven his straight-man comedy chops — indeed, his off-news celebrity probably led to his current predicament — and The Daily Show is really a vehicle that can be driven wherever the host wants it to go, as long as it has two elements: Comedy and news. Williams doesn't seem to be very political — you really can't be as a network news anchor — but many conservatives already seem to dislike him, so he and Stewart have that in common. A Brian Williams–helmed Daily Show would be a pretty big change in direction for the show, but that may be a good thing. Nobody is going to be Jon Stewart.

4. Bill Maher

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"108239","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"599","style":"margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"600"}}]](Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

The host of HBO's Real Time already has a big platform on premium cable, but there's one thing that might tempt him back over to a network where profanity is beeped out: Relevance. Real Time doesn't have the same reach into popular culture — or dorm rooms (people go out on Friday nights).

Bill Maher's brand of comedy and satire is edgier than Stewart's, and more libertarian-leaning, but he already has a history with Comedy Central: Before Stewart joined The Daily Show, Maher hosted Politically Incorrect on the network from 1993 to 1997, when it moved to ABC.

5. Greg Gutfeld

Conservatives have long wanted their own version of The Daily Show, and it's not inconceivable that Comedy Central would give the actual thing to Greg Gutfeld, who along with being one of Fox News' "The Five," also hosts a late-night news and comedy show on the network, Red Eye. There would probably be a small revolt among The Daily Show's regular watchers, but if Gutfeld was funny and aimed his satire at both sides of the political spectrum, fans might come around. Or, Comedy Central would get a whole new batch of viewers at 10 p.m.

6. Joel McHale

Joel McHale, the star of Community, has also been hosting E! Online's The Soup since 2004. It's not hard to imagine jumping from satirizing reality TV to mocking Congress, and McHale, like Stewart and most of the Daily Show cast, has a background in improvisational comedy, starring in the Seattle sketch comedy show Almost Live! in the mid-1990s. McHale might bring a lighter touch to The Daily Show — or he might not. It seems worth at least giving giving him an audition.

7. Craig Ferguson

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"108240","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"599","style":"margin-right: auto; margin-left: auto; display: block;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"600"}}]](Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Craig Ferguson might have replaced David Letterman on The Late Show, but there would be some delightful symmetry in sending him to Comedy Central while Stephen Colbert takes Letterman's place. Ferguson's Late, Late Show was idiosyncratic but pretty funny, and he has shown he can hold his own behind the anchor desk. The Daily Show crowd may not be ready for a Scottish burr and Doctor Who jokes (or maybe they are!), but Comedy Central has done pretty well with Daily Show talent from the British Isles. They let John Oliver get away. Maybe Ferguson would bring the same kind of magic.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.