At first, it was difficult to see what the executives behind The Daily Show were thinking: replace one hugely famous Jon, with another largely unknown John.
But when John Oliver, the so-called “Senior British Correspondent” at The Daily Show since 2006, was drafted in to fill Jon Stewart's shoes as he took a break to direct a film, US audiences reacted favourably this summer.
And now, in a blow to the producers at Comedy Central, the makers of The Daily Show, such was the success of John Oliver's stint at the helm that he has now landed his own show with the premier US network HBO.
Oliver seemed to acknowledge the slightly-awkward nature of his departure in a statement released tonight. “I'm incredibly excited to be joining HBO, especially as I presume this means I get free HBO now,” he said. “I want to thank Comedy Central, and everyone at The Daily Show for the best seven and a half years of my life. But most of all, I'd like to thank Jon Stewart. He taught me everything I know. In fact, if I fail in the future, it's entirely his fault.”
The Birmingham-born Oliver, whose contemporaries at Cambridge University reportedly included the Peep Show star David Mitchell, will now host a weekly comedy series on Sunday nights from next year.
“We weren't otherwise searching for another weekly talk show, but when we saw John Oliver handling host duties on The Daily Show, we knew that his singular perspective and distinct voice belonged on HBO,” said HBO's Original Programming head Michael Lombardo. “We are extremely excited that John has agreed to make HBO his home.”