Taking over for a legend is always a daunting challenge. Regardless of past success or stature, the new host of a nightly show in America faces endless challenges when starting out in their new role. Just think about the failed Jay Leno to Conan O’Brien transition The Tonight Show had on its hands in 2010. It seemed like a slam dunk that unraveled after an array of hurdles that Conan and NBC couldn’t get over. Conversely, The Late Show’s transition to the Stephen Colbert era after the iconic David Letterman appears to be smooth sailing so far.
For Trevor Noah and The Daily Show, it appears they are heading down a road much more Colbert-esque than Conan, but room to grow remains.
Since taking over on September 28th, my fellow South African has brought a new perspective to TDS without deviating from the format that propelled Jon Stewart and the show to previously unheard of heights. While some speculated he’d bring a more “global” view, Trevor has truly excelled by bringing the millennial viewpoint to the show in ways Jon Stewart would often joke about not understanding. By keeping past correspondents while adding some fresh new faces, TDS has done an excellent job of changing the guard without forgetting the faces the fans tuned in to see each night during the Jon Stewart era. So far, chemistry between them and Trevor appears to be quite hysterical on most nights.
Ratings-wise, the show’s daily digital content views are at 40 percent since Trevor took the helm, up 10 percent from Stewart’s reign. However, detractors of the new host will point out that the show’s ratings are down 32 percent in the key 18-49 demo, and 37 percent across the board, but Comedy Central and Jon Stewart appear to be ok with the shift.
“We made the absolute right choice,” Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless told The Wrap. “The show needed to evolve.” She also told The Wrap that Stewart feels like “A proud papa” over Trevor.
One thing fans need to remember is that it takes time for a host to come into their own on any show, especially so after taking over for an icon. Trevor Noah is a bright, likable comedian that I’ve enjoyed watching so far in his early run. It will take some time for him to truly come into his own, but with Comedy Central behind him, the future looks bright for Trevor and the show as a whole.
Check out the clips below to get an idea if you haven’t seen him already, including his powerful thoughts on the recent Paris terrorist attacks.