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John Oliver to Star in HBO Comedy Series

The weekly topical-comedy show will air next year

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Neilson Barnard / Getty Images for Comedy Central

John Oliver as summer guest host of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" on June 10, 2013, in New York City.

So what did you do with your summer? Yeah, that’s nice. John Oliver spent it guest-hosting The Daily Show — which turned out to be an audition for the weekly comedy-satire show he just got signed for at HBO.

HBO describes Oliver’s show as a “satirical look at the week in news, politics, and current events,” says it will air on Sunday nights starting sometime in 2014 — and confirms that this means, yes, Oliver will be leaving The Daily Show. A sad loss for that show, but — I hope — our gain. Oliver is wickedly smart, funny and agile on air, and as I wrote during his guest-host gig, he did a fine job — but in a role that was carefully written to stay the course that Jon Stewart set. I’d rather see what Oliver can do with a show that’s modeled on his own distinctively acerbic sense of humor.

As for Comedy Central, where Oliver had spent over seven years with The Daily Show, there was talk that the channel should maybe sign him to his own nightly series to hang on to him after his successful guest gig. But it may be better for everyone that it worked out this way: with Stephen Colbert already in a brilliant in-character spinoff and Stewart going nowhere soon, there was a risk that the channel might overdilute the Daily Show brand with yet one more. On HBO once a week, Oliver — who does a weekly satire podcast, The Bugle, now — has the chance to create an institution instead of expand one.

I’ll miss Oliver, though I suspect not as much as The Daily Show will. But he’s earned a chair of his own:

Here’s an excerpt from HBO’s announcement:

HBO has signed John Oliver to star in a topical comedy series slated to launch in 2014, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Presenting a satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events, the weekly show will debut on Sunday nights.

“We weren’t otherwise searching for another weekly talk show, but when we saw John Oliver handling host duties on ‘The Daily Show,’ we knew that his singular perspective and distinct voice belonged on HBO,” said Lombardo. “We are extremely excited that John has agreed to make HBO his home.”

Oliver commented, “I’m incredibly excited to be joining HBO, especially as I presume this means I get free HBO now. I want to thank Comedy Central, and everyone at ‘The Daily Show’ for the best seven and a half years of my life. But most of all, I’d like to thank Jon Stewart. He taught me everything I know. In fact, if I fail in the future, it’s entirely his fault.”