Jon Stewart, Now with Paramount, Says His AppleTV+ Show Ended Because ‘Corporations Are P*ssies’

Jon Stewart performs during the 16th Annual Stand Up For Heroes Benefit presented by Bob W
Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Bob Woodruff Foundation

Jon Stewart has lashed out about his AppleTV+ getting canceled after only two seasons, and he blames it all on an inherent flaw in corporations — though he crawled back to a corporation to regain some relevance this election season.

Speaking on his The Town podcast, Stewart revealed that his “ah ha” moment over the future of his AppleTV+ series, The Problem, came after he interviewed economist and former Obama Treasury Sec. Larry Summers during his second season.

He wasn’t exactly suffering censorship by Apple executives for the Summers interview, or any other episode for that matter. But he realized that they just weren’t on the same page for what makes for good or truthful TV.

The experience reminded Stewart that “There’s a mantra we all have to remember. Corporations are pussies. They are now, and they always have been.”

Stewart said that Summers was advising the fed to make big interest rate cuts, but that such a move would lead to massive job loss. Summers felt that was acceptable because, Stewart said summarizing Summers’ policy, it was a “utilitarian approach” to fixing the economy.

But Stewart said that he countered Summers with a question about soaring corporate profits.

“I was saying, but what about corporate profits? This really doesn’t do anything to address how they’ve been killing it in the pandemic,” Stewart said, clearly upset that corporations were still making money even at the height of the pandemic years.

However, after the program was produced and Apple executives got a look at it, Stewart said that his attack on corporate profits didn’t sit well upstairs, and they ultimately asked him: “Are you gonna use that Summers thing?” The question set off a long debate between his staff and Apple’s executives, and in the end, Stewart says he realized that “Our aims do not align in any way.”

Only a few months after the Summers interview, the show was done, lasting from 2021 to 2023 and over two seasons.

“We’re trying to make the best, most insightful execution of the intention that we can make but they’re protecting a different agenda—and that’s when I knew, we’re in trouble. And it continued that way,” Stewart said.

Stewart went on to say that working for AppleTV+ was not at all the same as working for Comedy Central (owned by Paramount Global) because the cable network is a content company, while AppleTV is just side hustle for Apple — and their real interests lie elsewhere.

“If you’re working for a content company, every metric that you would look at to say you were successful in that market, was there [for The Problem],” Stewart told his podcast audience. “They even said that to us, you drew people to the platform, you performed well on the platform, your moments went off the platform to gain some recognition and it was all there—just, ‘Please stop doing it.’”

Stewart noted that when a show like Ted Lasso becomes a hit for Apple, that’s all well and good, but if a show is thought to be damaging to Apple’s real business interests, then it doesn’t matter if it is successful.

“Apple isn’t just a content company, they have a whole other side business,” he said, adding, “So if you think about it, content for them, and I don’t wanna say it’s a lark, but it is not core to their brand identity.”

“I learned that I could not help [Apple] in the way that I think I may have been able to help Comedy Central. I think in their determination, I could hurt them,” he said.

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