Trevor Noah will remain as the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” through 2022, the Viacom-owned network announced Thursday, and will expand his duties to boot.
Under the terms of the deal, which keeps Noah as host, writer and executive producer of the program, the comedian will produce and host annual, year-end specials, starting this year. The format of the specials is still being worked out, said Kent Alterman, president of Comedy Central, in an interview. Noah realized “that on a day-to-day basis, he is absorbing the headlines of the day, and creating content out of that, and it would be great to within the auspices of ‘The Daily Show’ do some sort of stand-up special or take a look at the year in terms of the headlines that have transpired,” Alterman said. “Maybe there’s an undercurrent of not necessarily assuming we are going to have a year to follow.”
By extending Noah’s contract, Comedy Central is signaling its confidence in the host, who spent some time under intense critical scrutiny after inheriting the “Daily Show” seat from his predecessor, Jon Stewart, in September of 2015. The program, as it has been since it launched with Craig Kilborn as host in 1998, serves as the linchpin to the network’s late-night schedule, and has become, along with “South Park,” a signature series.
Noah is the most recent of TV’s late-night hosts to extend their current tenure. Time Warner’s HBO on Tuesday extended its deal with John Oliver through 2020. The company’s TBS renewed its deal with Conan O’Brien through 2022.
Success at “The Daily Show” has also allowed for a veritable wee-hours empire of programming over the years that has included “The Colbert Report,” “@midnight” and “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore.” On September 25, “The Daily Show” will feed viewers into a new program, “The Opposition with Jordan Klepper,” a former “Daily Show” correspondent. Noah will serve as an executive producer of that series. A promo for the new show appeared Wednesday night at the end of the most recent “Daily Show” broadcast.
Executives at the network were prepared to let Noah have time to grow into his post, said Alterman. “We realized if the goal was to replace Jon Stewart with just a younger version of Jon Stewart, that would have been a fool’s errand,” he said. “I really looked at an opportunity to try to think about bringing someone who would turn it into their own thing.” But Noah required time to get his footing both in front of and behind the camera, said Alterman, and the audience needed time to grow comfortable with him.
“We were totally braced for it,and we never waned in terms of our belief in Trevor,” he said. Alterman said he felt the recent election helped transform the perception of Noah as an outsider using his experience growing up in South Africa as an intriguing lens on current events to one of an insider, who has been experiencing the nation’s recent political and cultural tumult alongside viewers.
Citing Nielsen ratings, Comedy Central said “The Daily Show” is up 17% so far in the current quarter among viewers between 18 and 49 compared with the year-earlier period, and up 28% among total viewers. The network also suggested the program is coming up on NBC’s “Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in terms of viewers between 18 to 34. Throughout Noah’s second season, “Daily Show” has posted monthly and quarter gains compared with the previous year, the network said.