The blows keep coming for Comedy Central in the quest to find a new host for The Daily Show: Longtime show correspondents Jason Jones and Samantha Bee are headed to TBS. The network has picked up an untitled comedy series executive-produced by the married pair and starring Jones as a dad taking his family on a road trip. He’s already announced his departure from The Daily Show.
The sitcom itself is less important than what it augurs for Comedy Central, which has recently seen several Daily Show stars unwilling or unable to take over the powerful nightly franchise. Jessica Williams took herself out of contention to replace Jon Stewart; Stephen Colbert left for CBS, where he’s to replace David Letterman, before Stewart announced his own departure; John Oliver’s contract at HBO was just renewed, while Larry Wilmore’s show is still establishing itself in Comedy Central’s 11:30 p.m. timeslot.
The degree to which Stewart’s departure took Comedy Central by surprise is becoming clear in the utter lack of a succession plan. Losing Oliver, who left at a time when it was unclear if he’d ever get the opportunity to replace Stewart, was a significant blow. Losing Bee and Jones to a deal that obviously must have been underway before Stewart’s departure may be yet worse, because it reduces by two the number of credible replacements for Stewart. Across the internet, comedy fans have expressed hope that a star of the caliber of Amy Poehler would take over the fake-news show, but Poehler-esque stars tend to be both expensive and busy with other projects.
An internal candidate would make the most sense, but that category of star just got rarer by two.