Friday's episode of The Daily Show concluded with a shocking announcement: host Trevor Noah will leave the series after seven years as host. The South African comedian, who was largely unknown in North America prior to taking the job, stepped in to replace Jon Stewart in late 2015 and shepherded the show through the Trump administration and the pandemic. Those two key events, along with Noah bringing an outsider's view to American politics, made his Daily Show much different from predecessor Jon Stewart's, who had in turn made the show his own after taking it over from original anchor Craig Kilborn.
Noah was a popular host, and entered the piacture as one of the numerous talented comedians who worked on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and could have been promoted from within. It sounds like the odds are good that Noah's successor will be a Daily Show correspondent, with rumors pegging Roy Wood, Jr. as a favorite to take over the gig.
That's according to TMZ, who reported on the whispers they have been hearing, and evoked a response from Comedy Central that "In time, we will turn to the next chapter of The Daily Show and all of our incredible correspondents will be at the top of that list. Until then, we are focused on celebrating Trevor and thanking him for his many contributions."
Roy Wood, Jr. joined The Daily Show in 2015, the same year Noah took over for Stewart. He is best known as a stand-up comedian and writer, but has also had some notable acting appearances, including a three-year run on TBS's Sullivan and Son, and the recent Confess, Fletch, in which he played a police officer riffing off Jon Hamm's Irwin Maurice Fletcher.
The TMZ report names Wood as a frontrunner, but also stresses that no decisions have been made, and that Comedy Central may want to go with a woman. Still, nobody wants to lose Wood, whose star is rising, and his contract is up. A promotion could be an easy way to keep him on board.
Then again, it may be difficult to keep anybody locked in to a long-term contract. The late-night landscape is shifting, and with Noah's move following the recent retirement of Conan O'Brien and the upcoming cancellation of Full Frontal With Samantha Bee on TBS, there are no bona fide late night stars left. Hosts like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon cut their teeth elsewhere and were already famous before joining their respective late night franchises, and even James Corden recently announced he will be leaving his late night show.