November 3, 2015 / 6:31 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 2-Comedian Jon Stewart returns in HBO short-form deal

(Adds statement from Stewart, details on new deal)

NEW YORK, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Comedian Jon Stewart has signed a deal with cable television channel HBO to produce short-form digital content on current events in what will be his first announced entertainment project since quitting “The Daily Show” in August.

HBO said in a statement on Tuesday that the four-year agreement will see Stewart producing content that will be shown on its digital platforms HBO NOW and HBO GO. HBO will also get the first look at other, unspecified, film and TV ventures from the comedian.

In the first project under the deal “Stewart will view current events through his unique prism” and work with a graphics company to produced timely short-form digital content that will be refreshed multiple times a day, the statement said.

No start date for the venture was announced but HBO officials said it was expected to get under way early next year.

The announcement was the first indication of a new venture for Stewart, who quit as host of Comedy Central’s satirical “The Daily Show” in August after 16 years without saying what he planned to do next.

“Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me. I‘m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again,” Stewart quipped in a statement, referring to his “Daily Show” job.

Stewart’s irreverent brand of political and media satire made him a beloved figure on television and his influence reached far beyond the small 2-3 million nightly audience of “The Daily Show.”

Since leaving, he has kept a low profile, traveling to Los Angeles in September to accept an Emmy award and opening a farm sanctuary with his wife in New Jersey.

Although details of Stewart’s venture were unclear on Tuesday he is not the first comedian to turn to digital content after a successful career on mainstream television.

Jerry Seinfeld, co-creator of the award-winning 1990s comedy series “Seinfeld,” launched a popular web series in 2012 called “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” made up of short episodes, that is now in its sixth season and has been streamed about 100 million times.

Reporting By Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Bernard Orr

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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