As Noah Departs, CBS Mourns Decline in Late Night Viewership

As Trevor Noah stepped down as host of The Daily Show, Friday’s CBS Mornings lamented the general decline of late night TV. As correspondent Michelle Miller went through the data and upcoming Daily Show guest hosts, it never occurred to anyone that liberal activism might have something to do with it.

As part of Miller’s video report, Puck’s Matthew Belloni praised the selection of Noah as Jon Stewart’s replacement, “This is still an overwhelmingly white male profession, but Trevor Noah at least looked different and had different thoughts and perspectives.”

 

 

That did not lead to successful ratings, as Miller reported, “Noah initially struggled to attract an audience, his show eventually grew in popularity. Particularly on social media. But TV viewership has continued to decline, falling 58% since the start of the 2016/2017 broadcast year. And The Daily Show isn’t an isolated case. The leading network shows have all seen double-digit decreases prompting concern over the future of late night.”

Another clip of Belloni was then shown of him arguing The Daily Show needs to adapt to the 21st century, “In many ways the era of late night television is gone. That’s why I think whoever takes over The Daily Show is going to need to transition that show into a streaming audience.”

Belloni’s point is not a bad one, but it is only part of the problem. It ignores that 2016-2017 coincides with the election of Donald Trump and how late night comedians came to view it as their job to become part of the loyal opposition, a phenomenon that has continued even after Trump lost in 2020. A recent NewsBusters study found that the already reliably liberal Noah-hosted Daily Show became even more liberal starting in 2017.

Still mourning the general decline of the industry, Miller added, “Noah’s exit is one of many high-profile changes hitting late night in recent months, including the cancelation of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and departures of 30-year veteran Conan O’Brien and relative newcomer James Corden who will step away from late night next year.”

Regarding the future of The Daily Show, Miller reported, “As the search for a potential Daily Show successor begins, Comedy Central has announced a roster of guest hosts for next year including well-known names like Al Franken, Chelsea Handler, and show alumnus Hasan Minhaj.”

Franken is a former Democratic senator, Handler is a reliably liberal activist, and Minhaj is also, but with a political science degree who wouldn’t even say Trump’s name. Comedy Central has learned nothing.

This segment was sponsored by Swiffer.

Here is a transcript for the December 9 show:

CBS Mornings
12/9/2022
7:43 AM ET

MATTHEW BELLONI:  This is still an overwhelmingly white male profession, but Trevor Noah at least looked different and had different thoughts and perspectives. 

MICHELLE MILLER: Though Noah initially struggled to attract an audience, his show eventually grew in popularity. Particularly on social media. But TV viewership has continued to decline, falling 58% since the start of the 2016/2017 broadcast year. And The Daily Show isn’t an isolated case. 

The leading network shows have all seen double-digit decreases prompting concern over the future of late night. 

BELLONI: In many ways the era of late night television is gone. That’s why I think whoever takes over The Daily Show is going to need to transition that show into a streaming audience. 

MILLER: Noah’s exit is one of many high-profile changes hitting late night in recent months, including the cancelation of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee and departures of 30-year veteran Conan O’Brien and relative newcomer James Corden who will step away from late night next year. 

RONNY CHIENG: From the bottom of my heart, can I be the new host? 

TREVOR NOAH: Ronny Chieng everybody!

MILLER: As the search for a potential Daily Show successor begins, Comedy Central has announced a roster of guest hosts for next year including well-known names like Al Franken, Chelsea Handler, and show alumnus Hasan Minhaj. 

NOAH: Thank you so much for coming out. 

MILLER: While Trevor Noah hits the road once again. 

NOAH: This has been an honor. Thank you.

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