The Daily Show (called The Daily Show with Jon Stewart since 1999), is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998. Jon Stewart took over as host in January 1999, making the show more strongly focused on politics and the national media, in contrast with the pop culture focus during Kilborn's tenure.
Describing itself as a fake news program, The Daily Show draws its comedy and satire from recent news stories, political figures, media organizations, and often, aspects of the show itself. The show typically opens with a long monologue from Jon Stewart relating to recent headlines and frequently features exchanges with one or more of several correspondents, who adopt absurd or humorously exaggerated takes on current events against Stewart's straight man persona. The final segment is devoted to a celebrity interview, with guests ranging from actors and musicians to nonfiction authors and political figures.
The program has grown in popularity since Stewart took over hosting, with organizations such as the Pew Research Center claiming that it has become a primary source of news for many young people, an assertion the show's staff have repeatedly rejected. Critics, including series co-creator Lizz Winstead (who has since changed her view), have chastised Stewart for not conducting sufficiently hard-hitting interviews with his political guests, some of whom he may have previously lampooned in other segments. Stewart and other Daily Showwriters have responded to both criticisms by saying that they do not have any journalistic responsibility and that as comedians their only duty is to provide entertainment. Stewart's appearance on the CNN show Crossfire outlined this debate, where he chastised the CNN production and hosts for not conducting informative and current interviews on a news network.
In 2005, Comedy Central launched a spin-off show, The Colbert Report, starring long-time Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert. The two shows run consecutively and continue to have regular interaction with one another, and Stewart will often "toss" (create a bridge between shows) to Colbert at the end of an episode. A weekly version called The Daily Show: Global Edition has been created for overseas markets and airs on foreign networks as well as CNN International.