Comedy Central is back to square one in its efforts to find a new host for “The Daily Show.”
Cable network Paramount Global is considering a wide range of candidates to take over the reins of the show from former director Trevor Noah, according to people familiar with the matter, having previously identified Hasan Minhaj as a prime possibility. The decision appears to come on the heels of a recent report in The New Yorker, in which some of the supposed autobiographical stories Minhaj used in his routines were found to be embellished.
Comedy Central declined to comment, as did WME, the talent agency that represents Minhaj. Comedy Central never confirmed that Minhaj was a candidate for the position, which was previously reported diverse in August.
The “Daily Show” talent search comes as several major late-night TV talk shows prepare to return to action. Like NBC’s “Tonight Show” and “Late Night,” CBS’ “Late Show” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” was shut down in May due to the Hollywood writers’ strike. Now that the labor dispute has been settled, many early hours of television programs are back on the air. HBO is expected to air Bill Maher’s “Real Time” on Friday and John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight” on Sunday, with Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers returning to regular production on Monday.
But the Daily Show faces different challenges. Since Noah’s exit in 2022, the show has not had a regular host and has temporarily relied on a series of guests. Minhaj was one of a group of “Daily Show” hopefuls, including comedians such as Chelsea Handler, Leslie Jones, Al Franken, Kal Penn, Marlon Wayans and Sarah Silverman. The show’s cast of contributors, including Roy Wood Jr., Daisy Lyddick and Jordan Klepper, also served as substitute hosts.
Minhaj is still in the mix for the role, one of the people says, but executives at Paramount Global and Comedy Central are also studying audience research tied to new guests. One of those people says the network could also be testing a new crop of guest hosts in the coming weeks. But the hope is that there will be a new host that can be pointed at in time for the start of 2024, well before the presidential election later that year.
Late-night talk shows have been part of the national routine for decades. But recent changes in the way people watch their favorite shows are disrupting the relationships these shows have with their audiences. In 2018, seven late-night programs were introduced – NBC’s “Tonight” and “Late Night,” CBS’ “Late Show” and “Late Late Show,” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” , “Daily Show” on Comedy Central, and “Saturday Night Live” on NBC. — attracted more than $698 million in advertising in 2018, according to Vivvix, an ad spending tracking company. By 2022, that total had reached $412.7 million, a decline of nearly 41% over five years.
The longer shows go off the air, the greater the risk that viewers will start new habits or discover other options for midnight distraction.
CBS faces a similar challenge in late night. The network hopes to replace “The Late Late Show,” recently hosted by James Corden, with a revival of the Comedy Central late-night game show “@midnight.” But the writers’ strike — which is still ongoing and led by the actors — has slowed those plans. CBS executives are reportedly still considering talent and examining audience research, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person believes CBS wants to launch the new show by the beginning of 2024. A CBS spokesperson declined to comment on plans for the new show.
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