‘The Daily Show’ Up Double Digits Since Trevor Noah Left

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The Daily Show is up double digits in ratings since December, when previous host Trevor Noah departed.

The program is the only late-night program experiencing an upward trajectory. Its competitors on ABC, NBC, and CBS are meanwhile coping with considerable declines in ad revenue.

Perhaps the show’s success is just a blip.

Or perhaps ridding itself of Noah was the precise ingredient needed to recapture the cultural significance the Daily Show long held.

Trevor Noah shed 76% of his predecessor Jon Stewart’s ratings. There was no one reason for the steep fall. Cord-cutting, habit changes, YouTube, and increased political tensions were each a factor. Yet no factor was more critical than Noah himself.

Simply put, Trevor Noah isn’t funny. He is a partisan hack who leans on tiresome punchlines.

Viewers agree.

Television success is a simple formula: there’s a base audience that watches a particular time slot no matter the host. Hosts of value increase that base audience to a higher average. Think Rachel Maddow. Then there are hosts who drop the average below the base. Think Bomani Jones.

Trevor Noah is more Bomani Jones. Viewers tune out when he appears on the screen — at a rate of double digits.

The network has not replaced Noah full-time. Currently, it features a different guest host each week.

The list — which includes Roy Wood Jr, Sarah Silverman, Al Franken, Leslie Jones, Hasan Minhaj, and Chelsea Handler — doesn’t scream “next Jon Stewart.” The old Jon Stewart, that is. But it does scream “not Trevor Noah.”

And that’s enough for viewers, for the moment.

Comedy Central may continue with a rotation until it grows stale.

Kal Penn, who recently hosted the program, told Variety: “I love that all of the guest hosts so far have brought something unique to their week. No single week is anywhere near what the other weeks are like.”

There’s still hope in late night, though the days of Johnny Carson-like fame are past us. Bill Maher is proof that viewers will pay attention so long as the host is some combination of funny, unpredictable and wise.

Trevor Noah was none of that. He nuked what once was a prestigious brand of political satire. And his mere departure has given The Daily Show life.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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