After a year of scouting among various celebrities for the next host of its famed “The Daily Show,” Comedy Central will try a new recipe.
When the show returns from a break, it will likely rely heavily on a team of correspondents to take over each night, three people familiar with the matter say, although it is not clear whether the network has found its final cast of talent . “Daily Show” could also rely on guest appearances from some of the celebrities who have hosted the show since Trevor Noah, the last permanent host behind the desk, abruptly quit in late 2022.
Anyone looking for an immediate successor to Noah won't find one – at least not yet.
The Paramount Global network's decision comes at a time when the economics of late-night television, a cultural touchstone in the United States, are faltering. Advertising revenue and ratings for shows have declined in recent years as viewers tend to stream videos and watch more shows by watching digital clips of shows on linear television the day after they air. After bringing in about $39.9 million in ad dollars in 2022, “Daily Show” is on track to rake in nearly $19 million in 2023, according to Vivvix, an ad spending tracker. Production last year was hampered by Hollywood writers' strikes, and Comedy Central did not run reruns of The Daily Show, unlike its competitors at CBS, NBC and ABC.
Comedy Central is expected to unveil its plans for “Daily Show” next week. The station did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment on the role of correspondents in future broadcasts.
Chris McCarthy, the president of Paramount Global, which oversees the majority of the company's cable networks, is said to have informed talent representatives of the network's decision in recent days. According to people familiar with the discussions, McCarthy has told people that “Daily Show” will rely more heavily on a “newsroom” concept with a group of correspondents running the show. These people said that executives may be on the lookout for a possible solo host in the coming months, but don't feel ready to choose one at this point.
To be sure, the decision will likely save money — a concern that all networks involved in late-night programming have expressed. In recent months, Warner Bros. has pulled Discovery out of the early-aughts scene, cutting programming led by Conan O'Brien and Samantha Bee. And NBC is out of the business of showing a late-night show at 1:30, an hour it filled for years with Carson Daly and Bob Costas. CBS recently replaced its “The Late Late Show” with “After Midnight,” a program hosted by Taylor Tomlinson that is designed more as a game show and reportedly costs significantly less to produce.
Of course, the “Daily Show” correspondent pool isn’t as big as it used to be. Roy Wood Jr., one of the group's most popular members, exited last year, citing Comedy Central's inability to appoint a host as one of the reasons for his decision. Other correspondents on the show include Desi Lydic, Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta and Dulce Sloan.
There are good reasons for Comedy Central to bring The Daily Show back into production. The show typically thrives during an election year, which it often uses to generate live broadcasts and specials. Like many of Paramount's other cable channels, Comedy Central relies heavily on reruns of old shows, including “Seinfeld.” and “South Park.” However, gone are the days when Comedy Central had its own primetime lineup (“Drunk History” or “Broad City”).
Celebrities who appeared as guest hosts on “Daily Show” in 2023 in hopes of being considered for a permanent role include Leslie Jones, Chelsea Handler, Kal Penn, Charlamagne Tha God and Sarah Silverman.
There may still be a chance that Comedy Central hopes to land a big name at some point in the future. There has been some speculation that the network may have approached comedian John Mulaney about the hosting job at some point in the recent past. A representative for Mulaney could not be reached for immediate comment.