The Daily Show, known in its current incarnation as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central in the United States. 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, bringing a number of changes to the show's content. Under Stewart, The Daily Show has become more strongly focused around politics and the national media, in contrast with the more character-driven focus during Kilborn's tenure.
Describing itself as a fake news program, The Daily Show draws its comedy from recent news stories, satirizing political figures, media organizations, and often, aspects of the show itself. The show typically opens with a monologue from the host 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 Jon 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, have chastised Stewart for not conducting hard-hitting enough interviews with his political guests, some of whom he may have previously lampooned in other segments; while others have criticized the show as having a liberal bias. Stewart and other Daily Show writers 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.
In 2005, Comedy Central launched a spin-off show, The Colbert Report, starring long-time Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert. The two shows run back-to-back and continue to have regular interaction with one another, and Stewart will frequently "toss" (create a bridge between shows) to Colbert at the end of an episode. A weekly Global Edition of The Daily Show has been created for overseas markets and airs on foreign networks as well as CNN International.