To anyone who thought John Oliver's substitute host gig on "The Daily Show" felt less like a stand-in for Jon Stewart and more like the beginning of a beautiful new career opportunity, then congratulations. ... You were right! HBO has hired Oliver to do his own weekly show, starting next year.
Surprised? I was, a bit, plus slightly disappointed. I figured this future show would be on Comedy Central, but with Stewart at 11 and "The Colbert Report" at 11:30, real estate was starting to get a little tight there. Plus, Oliver's HBO series is now probably going to be more along the lines of Bill Maher's "Real Time" -- once a week, Fridays at 10 -- and I guess the instant assumption would be that Oliver's will be paired with Maher's too ... except that it won't. HBO says this show will go Sundays.
The disappointment? Only that Oliver established that he could easily handle the daily grind, and could have continued to handle it at CC. A weekly show isn't on "top" of the news as much as below it -- more reflective, slightly removed. Maher has certainly found a comfort zone as a once-a-week fixture, but "Real Time" has hardly the impact of a "TDS" or "Colbert Report."
“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 programming chief Michael Lombardo. “We are extremely excited that John has agreed to make HBO his home.”
Oliver: “I’m incredibly excited to be joining HBO, especially as I presume this means I get free HBO now. 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.”