Finding a new host for The Daily Show Not on anyone’s to-do list at Comedy Central . Not anytime soon. That changed in September 29, as the face of the network’s late night franchise, Trevor Noah , it was revealed on the broadcast that he was stepping down after seven years in the role. Until then, executives including Noah’s boss, MTV Entertainment Group CEO Chris McCarthy, who had lunch with Noah the day before, thought he would at least be in 2023-24 season. After all, in June, he raised his eight-figure deal again in two years at parent company Paramount Global. Then, in a surprising twist, Noah announced that he was done.
“We were totally shocked,” said a senior insider, and others there admitted they were stunned to see Noah’s signature. The South African comedian called his crew after the show to discuss what he had apparently been reluctant to share before, and is said to be eager to spend more time touring and setting up his zero-day production company. “I think it’s about time,” he told the audience, noting how clear the pandemic had become. If all goes according to Noah’s wishes, he will be out of the show by the end of the year.
For many in Hollywood, this is the latest reminder, albeit particularly obvious, that Comedy Central is no longer the comedy force it once was. In fact, many consider the brand to be the home of groundbreaking hits such as Key & Peele , Inside Amy Schumer and The birthplace of the vast city , which has been torn apart, is not the comedy industry at all. “Comedy Central didn’t even show up again,” said one prominent comedy producer. “It’s like nobody’s pitching them.” Today’s scan of the network’s prime-time lineup consists mostly of reruns of older, non-Comedy Central shows. The company’s most important streaming service, Paramount+, doesn’t offer viewers the comedy home that Hulu does.
To be sure, Comedy Central has struggled with talent retention for years, with the first exodus occurring every time Jon Stewart Before and after the departure of Risoo . At the time, the company was run by then-Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who famously provided the network and its stars with little information through resources or cross-company opportunities. Nonetheless, the recent 2020 ouster of Comedy Central president Kent Alterman, who has a reputation and longstanding relationship in the comedy world, is often referred to as For Comedy Central’s “The Beginning of the End.” About six months later, his No. 2, Sarah Babineau, and the rest of their programming team were fired.
In the nearly three years since then, Wharton MBA McCarthy, who started unscripted at Viacom, transformed Comedy Central from live-action Take away in the scripted comedy business. As part of the strategic overhaul, he also reversed the renewals (Tosh. )South Side, The Other Two, both for HBO Max) and cancelled deals, including deals with producers Paul W. Downs and Lucia Aniello , which went on to create Emmy darling Hacks for HBO Max. “It’s crazy that there’s more Comedy Central DNA on HBO Max than on Paramount+,” noted one comedy producer.
By all accounts, McCarthy focused on adult animation, with an emphasis on nostalgic dramas that are still bred, such as Ren & Stimpy, Daria spin-off and Animated version of Everyone Hates Chris. (Summer hired an executive 2020 to run a centralized adult animation division for MTV Entertainment Group.) SOUTH PARK remains a programming priority, and a new animation project from its creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone is said to be in the works.
According to whoever you ask in town, McCarthy is either “a smart, thoughtful straight shooter” who is executing a mission in an increasingly challenging entertainment environment Required strategy, either a “cold bean counter” more interested in squeezing profits and issuing press releases than developing talent or hit shows. During Comedy Central’s first all-hands meeting, McCarthy was allegedly asked As to what his favorite shows are, according to an employee present, he said he likes watching CNN. “He can’t think of a single TV show,” the still-unbelievable source offers.
Clearly McCarthy is not interested in playing traditional Hollywood games. Although he is said to have developed a good relationship with Noah – although some have questioned how good it is if Noah can’t trust him at lunch The news of was hours before it was made public – he rarely took the time to attract talent or Their rep. “At least David Zaslav was on tour when he took over,” one agency partner criticized Said, he was referring to a series of Meet Your Meetings and Meals by the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, before a series of cuts and cancellations.
Nonetheless, McCarthy Committed to keeping The Daily Show a cornerstone of Comedy Central, which is why Noah’s announcement was so popular. Even though the show’s ratings have gone from 1 in seven seasons.000 million night viewers and 0. 11 Rating in 24*)-30 Demographics to 384, audience and 0. rating, it maintains a huge social influence, generating nearly $000 million in ad revenue, according to Kantar. According to sources close to the production, McCarthy made it clear to Noah that, The company was willing to adjust his schedule so that Noah could work on other projects and “feel creative.” In fact, at lunch, the two even discussed getting hisdaily show reporters fill him with prospects in different weeks. Now, these same correspondents will be Noah’s full-time replacement.
While the exact schedule for Noah’s The Daily Show departure is still being finalized at press time, he still has a lot of business going on Parent company Paramount Global, where he strikes deals and joint ventures through his zero-day work. For example, there is a podcast, and there are more and more movies in development, at least some of which he now has the time and bandwidth to star in. But in September 24, the day after it was announced that he The Daily Show was quitting , Noah moved on. In fact, that night, he stood in front of a crowded crowd in Toronto, filming the next hour of his comedy. Fittingly, it will be available on Netflix rather than Comedy Central.
This story appeared in the October 5th issue of The Hollywood Reporter r Magazine. Click here to subscribe.