May 18, 2016: Daily Show and Nightly Show Ratings Hit the Skids

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A Brief History

The once wildly popular Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert airing at 11 PM and 11:30 PM (Eastern Time) on weeknights on Comedy Central have flopped miserably with the replacement hosts.

Digging Deeper

Trevor Noah took over the Daily Show from Jon Stewart on September 28, 2015 and Larry Wilmore’s The Nightly Show replaced The Colbert Report on January 19, 2015.

Since losing Stephen Colbert to network television as the host of CBS’s The Late Show, Wilmore has seen ratings in that time frame drop by a whopping 55% (as of February 2016), perhaps due to a slant on the “fake news” that is too much like the real news and not enough like comedy.  Bloggers have been savage in their criticisms of the direction the show has gone, more preachy than funny.  Wilmore has actually lost 29% of the viewers he claimed last year and has attracted widespread condemnation for his public use of the N-word in regards to America’s first black president.

Noah has not fared as badly, but still has lost 30% of the viewers he inherited from the popular John Stewart.  Whereas Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert were newsmakers themselves, often with clips from their shows shown on other news programs, Noah and Wilmore are virtually ignored by other news programs, notably the large cable news stations, and when they are covered by just about anyone, it is to discuss how horrible they are.

How long can Comedy Central afford to carry market share losers before replacements are mandated?  As far as we know, no plans to do so have been leaked, but common economic sense says something must change.  Either drop the gravity and seriousness and get funny, or get someone that will!

Question for students (and subscribers): Feel free to share your impression of how these shows are going and whether or not you think change of hosts or change of content is needed in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Stewart, Jon.  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race.  Grand Central Publishing, 2011.


About Author

Major Dan

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.