‘The Daily Show’ Finds Ratings Success With Guest Hosts As Correspondents Stake Claim For The Hot Seat

EXCLUSIVE: The Daily Show has been ticking along nicely with its phalanx of guest hosts including Chelsea Handler, Leslie Jones and Kal Penn.

The producers of the Comedy Central series are currently weighing up how they replace Trevor Noah in the hot seat come the fall, and one suggestion has been to continue the revolving roster of guest hosts on a permanent basis.

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The ratings certainly suggest it’s working.

Comparing the first quarter of 2023 – Leslie Jones kicked off the new format January 17 – with the first quarter of 2022 when Noah was host, Deadline understands that linear ratings are up 13%. On the social side, views are up 16% in this period compared with last year.

Much of this has been done without much marketing; Deadline understands a push is being saved for when the new plan is in place later in the year.

It would certainly make for a fresh take if Comedy Central decided to keep the revolving chair and would freshen up the late-night space, which has been undergoing a major change in the last year; sister company CBS, for instance, is replacing The Late Late Show with James Corden with a panel show in @midnight.

Noah’s departure has led to a fresh energy each week, with Jones kicking off her week with an over-the-top reaction to a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. statue, Handler taking on Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ozempic, Penn interviewing President Joe Biden, and Al Franken bringing on Lindsey Graham.

Other hosts have included Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, Sarah Silverman, Hasan Minhaj, Marlon Wayans and next week’s John Leguizamo.

A move to have a different guest host would force the producers to shift how they produce the show each week, but it would also open up a number of opportunities.

One could imagine scoring some A-list talent timed to certain promotional activities, not unlike Saturday Night Live, and Paramount Global bosses could be moved if they knew they’d have opportunities for some of the stars of its other shows; imagine Matthew McConaughey hosting if his Yellowstone spinoff gets off the ground, or the cast of Billions or of its multitude of spinoffs coming up with financial comedy bits.

Next up, The Daily Show correspondents are getting their shot at a promotion. Roy Wood Jr, Desi Lydic, Ronny Chieng, Michael Kosta and Dulcé Sloan along with contributors Jordan Klepper and Lewis Black are each getting their own week.

Wood will host the week of April 3, Klepper the week of April 17, Desi Lydic the week of April 24, Sloan will host the week of May 1 and Kosta the week of May 8. Dates for Chieng and Black are still to be confirmed.

Deadline revealed in October that the late-night show was considering hosting duos and trios, with the likes of Wood and Lydic being talked up as potential candidates.

We hear that this is still one of the options and with their shot behind the desk, each of them will be able to stake their claim for a permanent position if it goes well.

Jen Flanz serves as showrunner, writer and exec producer of The Daily Show with Ramin Hedayati, Justin Melkmann and Zhubin Parang as co-exec producers. Dan Amira is head writer.

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