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Jon Stewart taking hiatus from 'Daily Show' this summer to direct a film

Jon Stewart attends a screening of "A Place

Jon Stewart attends a screening of "A Place at the Table" at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. According to The New York Times, he'll take the summer off from "The Daily Show" to direct a film. (Feb. 27, 2013) Credit: AP

Jon Stewart is taking a break from "The Daily Show" — and not to lie on a beach. Comedy Central has announced that he'll take off the entire summer to direct a film.

His hiatus was earlier reported in The New York Times, which quoted Stewart as saying, 

"I am a television person who is accustomed to having a thought at 10 a.m. and having it out there at 6:30 p.m. and moving on, so this is a little scary, yes,” Mr. Stewart said by telephone. “But one of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves,” he continued, “and I really connected to Maziar’s story. It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”  

"Maziar" is Maziar Bahari, a former Newsweek reporter and subject of a sensational story — his own. He was imprisoned as a spy in Iran in 2009.

Also per the Times, he was imprisoned after appearing in a "Daily Show" skit with Jason Jones.  However, Bahari has denied that in interviews, including on "Daily:" "It had nothing to do with my arrest ... those guys wanted to fabricate charges. I could be on 'Sesame Street' and they would accuse Elmo of sedition."

There's much more backstory here; check out the "60 Minutes" interview from the fall of 2009 for some background. He was accused of being a "media spy" — someone who they bizarrely said got paid to tell U.S. media outlets what to publish. Also, check out the Jones piece and a subsequent "Daily" interview.

In any event, he published a book two years ago,  “And Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival” by Bahari and Aimee Molloy. Per a Comedy Central statement, the film will be called " 'Rosewater,' a journalist’s story of his entry into the family business - government imprisonment and political incarceration in Iran [and] was written by Stewart and is based on" Bahari's book.

John Oliver will helm the show while he's gone. Stewart is expected to be out eight weeks — not 12, because there are usually several weeks of "dark" time over the summer. 

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