Christopher Zara, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES
NEW YORK (IBTimes.com) – It’s difficult to overstate just how important Trevor Noah’s Monday night debut is for Viacom Inc. and for the fake-newscast genre pioneered by Viacom’s Comedy Central. At this time last year, Comedy Central ruled that genre: The hourlong block of Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” and Stephen Colbert’s “Colbert Report” dominated the millennial demographic that has proven so elusive for TV programmers over the last few years. And both shows continued to make waves the morning after they aired, with sharable video segments spreading across YouTube and every corner of the social web.
Everyone, it seemed, loved to talk about Stewart or Colbert’s latest viral screeds.
Fast forward one year and the late-night landscape is so different it’s barely recognizable. Stewart is retired. Colbert left Comedy Central for CBS, and his replacement, Larry Wilmore, is struggling to attract an audience — let alone viral-video fan base. If Comedy Central has any hope of getting back into the conversation, it’s going to need a savior. And Trevor Noah, an untested, relatively unknown standup comic from South Africa, looks like the network’s best chance. (No pressure, Trevor.)
To underscore the extent to which Viacom is hoping to spread the word about Noah, the company said Friday that it would simulcast “The Daily Show” premiere across all major Viacom Media Networks, including MTV, VH1, Spike, BET, Nick at Nite and TV Land, in addition to Comedy Central.