10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Trevor Noah Scores 5-Year 'Daily Show' Contract Extension at Comedy Central
Comedy Central is fully committing to Trevor Noah.
The Viacom-owned cable network has handed out a massive five-year contract extension to keep Noah front and center of The Daily Show. The new pact, which runs through 2022, includes annual year-end Daily Show specials hosted and produced by Noah.
"Trevor makes us look smart on a daily basis, and for that we're grateful," Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said Thursday in a statement.
The news comes as Noah is approaching his two-year anniversary with The Daily Show. He debuted Sept. 28, 2015, replacing Jon Stewart. Noah earned his first Emmy — for outstanding shortform variety series — for the digital entry Between the Scenes, which he hosted.
The deal keeps Noah in the house through well after the next presidential election after Comedy Central saw a string of top Daily Show talent (Stephen Colbert, John Oliver and Samantha Bee, among others) exit to host talk shows for other outlets. (Turner-owned TBS has found success with Full Frontal With Samantha Bee as well as with fellow Daily Show alum Jason Jones' scripted comedy The Detour, which Bee also produces.)
"I'm thrilled to be continuing this amazing journey with both fans of The Daily Show and Comedy Central. It's really exciting to renew this contract for either five more years or until Kim Jong Un annihilates us all — whichever one comes first," said Noah.
The pickup comes as The Daily Show has solidified its audience after launching to a slow start in 2015. Noah helped bring the show to new highs in August — its most watched month ever among total viewers, surpassing NBC's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon among millennials. The frequently political series is on pace to finish the 2016-17 season as the only daily late-night talk show to post year-over-year gains among both total viewers (up 14 percent) and the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic (up 6 percent). It will likely finish the season third in the key demo — besting ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, NBC's Late Night With Seth Meyers and CBS' The Late Late Show With James Corden. In its second season, Noah's The Daily Show posted monthly and quarterly gains year-over-year.
The Emmy also cemented the host's digital prowess, with Daily Show content up 50 percent year-over-year — with more than 2.2 billion views since Noah took over. The Daily Show also boasts as the most upscale and educated audience among ad-supported late-night shows. The gains come as viewers turn to late-night hosts to find humor in the country's stark political divide.
The pickup comes ahead of the Sept. 25 launch of Comedy Central's The Opposition With Jordan Klepper, with the Noah-produced entry taking over the post-Daily Show 11:30 p.m. slot previously occupied by The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore. The President Show, which was filling in that slot until a permanent replacement was found, will move to midnight after The Opposition launches.
The massive five-year extension for Noah caps a week that saw premium cable network HBO solidify its late-night offerings with renewals to weekly talkers Real Time With Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver through 2020. TBS also extended Conan O'Brien through 2022.
Noah, Steve Bodow, Jen Flanz and Jill Katz executive produce The Daily Show; Justin Melkmann co-exec produces. Max Browning, Eric Davies, Pam DePace, Ramin Hedayati and Elise Terrell supervise. Zhubin Parang serves as head writer, while Daniel Radosh is senior writer. Paul Pennolino directs. Sarah Babineau oversees for Comedy Central. Noah is repped by CAA, Mainstay Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.
Below, Alterman talks with The Hollywood Reporter about the big extension for Noah as well as the state of Comedy Central's other franchises.
Talk us through the decision to keep Noah under contract well beyond the next presidential election. Why was it important to do that?
We had a multiyear deal in place and extended it. We have always believed in Trevor and now that he's been in this chair for two years, he just keeps elevating on all fronts. Creatively, he really hit his stride during the election. He continues to have a more potent, strong, comedic voice in the late-night landscape. We found the world has caught up to the belief that we always held. We see that in all quarters; most important, we see that in our audience and the ratings keep going. The show is up 28 percent among total viewers for the quarter. It's up 17 percent among adults 18-49, and it's growing faster than any other show in late-night. It's the only late-night talk show that's up year-over-year among both total viewers and adults 18-49. It's also the most engaging show among the late-night shows. It feels like Trevor is always part of the national conversation now, whether it's critical pieces or think pieces, and everyone has taken notice now of what an incredible force Trevor is.
We've seen what the arms race has been for talent among late-night personalities with Colbert, Bee and Oliver all going to other outlets. How is this deal reactionary to what you've gone through in the past and the challenges that you've experienced finding someone to sit at the Daily Show desk?
We hope we prevail with Trevor the same way we did with Jon Stewart. May we get 16-plus years with Trevor as well.
What kind of message does this kind of commitment to talent send to the town about the state of your late-night lineup?
We've never wavered in our belief in Trevor. It's been gratifying to see Trevor get more powerful as a critical, comedic and satirical voice. I can feel how the comedy community has really embraced him. He's really revered now, and it's fantastic to see.
When we spoke in July, you were considering reinventing @midnight. Any update there?
We're focused on launching The Opposition With Jordan Klepper. We're looking at everything one piece at a time, and we're excited about the way The Opposition will be a unique show in late-night. It's really aiming in a different direction than all the other shows and yet at same time it feels totally connected to The Daily Show in very complimentary way. We're excited about rebuilding the power hour we've been accustomed to in the past with Trevor and Jordan. Where we go from there remains to be seen.
Do you have a timeline for when Amy Schumer will be back on Comedy Central?
No, nothing has changed there.
Is she coming back?
It's like what Larry David evolved to with HBO and Louis C.K. did with FX. We have an agreement for a season in place. We're respectful of if and when she's ready to have something to say in that format, we're here for her. We talk to her all the time. She has been exec producing several of our specials in the last year or so.
Broad City returned for season four last night and is already renewed through season five. How much longer do you see that going?
That's going to be a matter of how long is that show going to feel like it serves those characters for the time and place of the lives that they're at. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are really flourishing with the show. At the same time, it's a very specific show about these characters at a certain age living in New York City. And there will be some limit about how far they can take it.
Do you see them as being producers and parts of the Comedy Central brand beyond the show? Are you talking to them about a larger deal as Viacom looks to lock in more talent?
We've had discussions with them about producing and we did the miniseries [Time Traveling Bong] with Ilana. We have a great relationship with them, and we're talking to them all the time about wherever they're aiming.
Tosh.0 is still going strong. Does that have an end date?
Daniel [Tosh] is still as sharp as ever and still hitting an audience. We're continuing more with Daniel as well.
South Park also returned for its 21st season and is renewed through season 23. Are you talking with Matt Stone and Trey Parker to expand beyond the show?
That's the ultimate miracle — that Matt and Trey are just as vital, relevant, funny and sharp as ever. They're supreme social satirists. It's beyond comprehension to me that they can that kind of maintain edge for so long. But so far, they show no signs of getting bored or losing interest in it. We always have ongoing discussions with them. We don't have anything to announce right now.