Stewart has been the host of the Comedy Central stalwart for 16 years

By Alex Heigl
Updated February 11, 2015 07:45 AM
Credit: Rick Kern/Getty

Late-night television’s moral compass is going to need a new true north.

Jon Stewart announced Tuesday night that he’ll be stepping down from The Daily Show when his current contract expires in September, to the dismay of most of the television-viewing populace. (Between this and Stephen Colbert’s departure, it’s not hard to imagine the flop sweat on certain executive floors at Comedy Central right now.)

Though the news broke ahead of the air date, the studio audience’s reaction – an audible groan – says it all.

While Stewart technically inherited The Daily Show‘s anchor slot from Craig Kilborn in 1999, he inarguably made the show the institution it is today.

No one but Stewart (and possibly not even Stewart) knows what his next move will be, but this much is certain: He will be missed.