Courtesy of Pari Dukovic
Filling Trevor Noah’s seat at “The Daily Show” may not be a task that can be accomplished with a snap of the fingers.
Comedy Central is considering utilizing a rotating array of hosts on “The Daily Show” after the program returns from a hiatus following Trevor Noah’s exit in December, according to three people familiar with the matter. The Paramount Global-backed cable network is mulling a range of options, some of these people suggested, and it is not clear at present whether its plans are finalized. The network has already said it intends to put the show on hiatus after a final Trevor Noah broadcast on December 8, and then plans to bring it back on Jan. 17 as part of what the network called a “reinvention.”
In the late-night arena, succession is rarely easy. Noah’s decision to leave came as a surprise to many producers and executives involved with the program, according to people familiar with the situation, and that in turn means Comedy Central hasn’t had much time to ponder the direction of the show without him.
Comedy Central faced a similar dilemma in 2015, when Jon Stewart announced in February of that year that he intended to step down. Even so, executives had months of advance notice before his final sign off, letting them mull over prospects of the show’s correspondents — who at the time included Samantha Bee — or outsiders (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were among those reported to be considered at the time).
Comedy Central declined to make executives available for comment. In a statement the network has issued in the past, it said “In time, we will turn to the next chapter of ‘The Daily Show,’ and all of our incredible correspondents will be at the top of that list. Until then, we are focused on celebrating Trevor and thanking him for his many contributions.”
Some of the “Daily Show” team of supporting comics are now in the spotlight, with two people familiar with the matter suggesting correspondent Roy Wood Jr. or contributor Jordan Klepper (who once hosted a program after “Daily”) might be considered to succeed Noah. Wood recently jumped to CAA for representation, suggesting he felt he needed a new advocate to move his career to new levels. But the show has other featured performers, including Desi Lydic and Ronny Chieng.
In a different era, TV networks liked to orchestrate succession behind the scenes. These days, some of them are open to testing new candidates out in the open. Fox News Channel, for example, has relied on rotating hosts at several programs after an anchor or co-host has left.
Variety's Brian Steinberg contributed to this post.