"Daily Show" host Jon Stewart will take the summer off to direct a film about an Iranian journalist who has appeared on his show, and correspondent John Oliver will fill in for Stewart as host, Comedy Central said.
Stewart's eight weeks off come in addition to about four weeks of repeats each summer, meaning viewers will have to go nearly three months without fresh doses of Stewart's incisive, sarcastic political commentary.
Stewart, who has hosted Comedy Central's flagship show since 1999, will direct his first film, the drama "Rosewater," from a screenplay he wrote. It is an adaptation of the 2011 book “And Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival” by Maziar Bahari and Aimee Molloy.
Bahari was accused of being a spy and imprisoned by the Iranian government shortly after "Daily Show" correspondent Jason Jones interviewed him in Iran in 2009. Bahari appeared as a guest on "The Daily Show" in June 2011, and told Stewart that he was not imprisoned because of the "Daily Show" interview, but because his captors wanted an excuse to lock him up.
Story continues after video of Stewart's interview with Bahari:
Stewart told the New York Times that the prospect of a film was "a little scary" but that "one of the reasons we are in this business is to challenge ourselves.”
“And I really connected to Maziar’s story," he added. "It’s a personal story but one with universal appeal about what it means to be free.”
“Rosewater” will be produced by Stewart’s production company, Busboy Productions, along with Scott Rudin Productions and Odd Lot Entertainment.
This isn't Stewart's first extended absence from the airwaves: "The Daily Show" went on hiatus for two months during the writers strike that began in November 2007.
Stewart's hiatus was first reported by Deadline.