Well, Here’s One Creative Difference That Led to Jon Stewart Leaving Apple TV+

We now know at least one problem that “The Problem with Jon Stewart” ran into.

Stewart, hosting “The Daily Show” on Monday (as he now does), had FTC Chair Lina Khan as his guest. It was a conversation he says he wanted to have during his days as an Apple TV+ host. It needed to wait for Comedy Central.

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“I wanted to have you on a podcast and Apple asked us not to do it,” Stewart told Khan. “They literally said, ‘Please don’t talk to her.'”

Feels a bit more than “creative differences.”

“I think it just shows one of the dangers of what happens when you concentrate so much power and so much decision making in a small number of companies,” Khan responded to Stewart.

Stewart’s inference was that Apple, which he says “has bought 30 AI models,” did not want him to have an AI conversation that was too negative on the technology and/or name-dropped Apple as a potential monopoly (or oligopoly) player in the space. The initial media reports on Stewart’s split with Apple also pegged the iPhone maker’s relationship to China as a problematic playground for the comedian. AI and China are both intertwined and separate issues — the likelihood here is that it was both.

An Apple TV+ spokesperson did not immediately reply to IndieWire’s request for comment.

“They’re already having an arms race,” Stewart said of Apple, Alphabet (fka Google), Microsoft, and other tech companies gobbling up AI models like jellybeans on Easter. The Federal Trade Commission, which was built to (basically) prevent monopolies and be the watchdog for oligopolies, has its eye on them. In some cases, it also already has its lawyers on them.

Watch the conversation between Khan and Stewart below. The Apple/AI stuff specifically starts around the 16-minute mark.

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