By Dennis Culloton, President and CEO
It’s a sign of the times that there is more buzz in social and mainstream media about who will succeed “Fake news anchor” Jon Stewart now that he’s leaving the Daily Show. The blogosphere has been flooding with articles mourning his departure and suggesting his replacement host. The number of articles was so concentrated that at the opening of his show the following night, Stewart asked “Did I die?”
There has been significant argument for a Daily Show host who isn’t a middle aged white man. This isn’t a new sentiment, either; despite his popularity with the liberal youth, there were grumblings when Stephen Colbert was announced as the Late Show’s next host, there were grumblings at yet another late night talk show gig being given to a white man.
The conversation was so active that Jessica Williams, one of TDS fans favorites to take over the show, tweeted in response: “I’m not hosting. Thank you but I am extremely under-qualified for the job!” And to be fair, she is only 25- that’s pretty young to be responsible for a production as popular as The Daily Show. When Jon Stewart took over for Craig Kilborn in 1999, he’d already had a show of his own (The Jon Stewart Show.)
There are plenty of talents on The Daily Show now that could possibly take over The Daily Show desk instead. Correspondent Samantha Bee has been around for 12 years and famous for some of the shows more brassy segments about women’s rights. Al Madrigal, though he’s only been on the show for 4 years, does some pretty great pieces on immigration. With a median age of 36 and a leftward political leaning, it’s unlikely that The Daily Show’s viewers would be offended by a female or Latino host.
Despite Williams’ refusal of the promotion, fact that she’s received so much encouragement from fans and bloggers alike is encouraging if you’re one of the many people hoping for more diversity in the media. They’re telling Comedy Central execs, “We’re ready, we’re excited- give us something new.”