HBO signs Jon Stewart to produce short-form digital video, other content in 4-year deal

Looks like Jon Stewart's sojourn away from television is ending soon: The Daily Show veteran has signed a four-year deal with HBO to produce a number of projects, beginning with a series of "short-form digital content" pieces that will appear on HBO Now.

"Jon Stewart led a revolution that changed the face of TV comedy on the Daily Show," said Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming. "He graced our network nearly 20 years ago, so we're thrilled to welcome back his immense talents in this next chapter of his career."

Stewart's past credits with HBO include recurring appearances on The Larry Sanders Show, hosting a tribute to George Carlin and his own standup special.

While no specifics have emerged on the type of content Stewart will be producing, an article in The Verge speculated that it will fall along the lines of his Daily Show shtick of calling out politicians, media outlets and other public figures on their, erm, malarkey.

There's probably no chance of missing the HBO Now content, either; the release stated that the short-form videos will be refreshed "multiple times throughout the day" on the SVOD service, though it didn't reveal a schedule or release date for that content. Stewart is working with OTOY, a cloud graphics company, to develop a "new technology" to deliver the content frequently.

Stewart will produce other types of content for HBO as well, according to the terms of the deal, all of which will be showcased on HBO platforms including HBO Now and HBO Go. He'll also have a first-look option for other film and TV ventures.

While HBO is no slouch when it comes to original programming, the network appears to be testing new programming formats via this deal with an eye toward building its online and TV Everywhere audiences. The network signed Vice in 2013 to bring its millennial-focused independent news coverage to its lineup, for example. This summer, HBO bought the first-run rights to classic kids' series Sesame Street and backed the show's production, and will stream the series on HBO Now as well as via its cable channel and HBO Go.

For more:
- see the release
- The Verge has this article

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Verizon's OTT play, go90, at risk as competition moves in, capex becomes an issue, report says
HBO takes over 'Sesame Street,' looks to compete with Netflix for increasingly influential kids audience

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