Animation takes a notoriously long time to complete, because of the whole…animating factor. Most common are series like Adventure Time, Family Guy, and The Simpsons, which take around nine months per episode; nothing less than clairvoyance is necessary if you want to be super-relevant therein. South Park, which aims for topicality, is something of an exception, taking only six days per episode and thereby achieving commentary on very of-the-moment conversations; but even that isn’t done in a short enough time to deliver the turdly onslaught of daily news. It is for this reason that a promising idea from Jon Stewart and HBO has now been nixed: Stewart had been planning to team up with the cable network on an animated news commentary series, but he and HBO have released a joint statement explaining why it actually won’t be happening.
A couple of years back, Stewart announced his four-year post-Daily Show deal with HBO to team up for a number of new projects, one of which was this digitally animated series. HBO Programming President Casey Bloys spoke at the 2016 Television Critics’ Association Summer Press Tour, detailing the potential series (now turned absolutely-not-potential-series). “He wants to get material out on a daily basis,” said Bloys last July. “The idea is that it’s an animated parody of a cable news network in an Onion-like portal. It will be his voice, in his actual voice, and his tone.” As Indiewire explains, the goal was to release shorts online daily, then to cluster them together for a weekly half-hour release on HBO. And, as per Variety, they’d originally thought they’d be able to overcome the time-based obstacles of animation through a collaboration with cloud graphics company OTOY Inc., who’d developed a new technology that’d allow them to expedite the process. Apparently Stewart had been at work on the project for months, and wasn’t happy with the quality of what he’d been making thus far.
The new statement quashing the idea reads:
HBO and Jon Stewart have decided not to proceed with a short form digital animated project. We all thought the project had great potential but there were technical issues in terms of production and distribution that proved too difficult given the quick turnaround and topical nature of the material. We’re excited to report that we have some future projects together which you will be hearing about in the near future.
Deadline claims that news of these “future projects” is expected to be upon us in a couple of weeks.