LOS ANGELES - Comedian Jon Stewart will leave as the host of Comedy Central's satirical newscast "The Daily Show" later this year, the Viacom Inc-owned network said on Tuesday.
"Through his unique voice and vision, 'The Daily Show' has become a cultural touchstone for millions of fans and an unparalleled platform for political comedy that will endure for years to come," Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless said in a statement.
Stewart, 52, has led "The Daily Show" since 1999. A replacement has not yet been named.
In December, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert left the popular "Colbert Report" news satire program to be David Letterman's replacement on CBS's "Late Show."
Stewart's lampooning of public figures and politicians earned him a loyal following across age groups. His show has often been cited as the top news source for young people. "The Daily Show" reaches slightly more than 1 million viewers on average.
Stewart, who began his career in stand-up comedy in New York, took his satirical humor to MTV in 1993, where he hosted "The Jon Stewart Show."
He made his directorial debut last year with the feature film, "Rosewater," centering around the 2009 imprisonment of an Iranian journalist who had appeared on Stewart's show earlier that year.
In his regular role as one of TV’s most recognizable faces, and a pioneer of the faux-news genre, the Jewish comedian has also received criticism from opposite ends of the Middle East spectrum.
Not one to remain mum on any issue, Stewart has commented on issues he finds "troubling" with Judaism and the Jewish State.
JTA contributed to this report.