(Hollywood Reporter) – In designating 31-year-old contributor Trevor Noah as Jon Stewart’s heir to the Daily Show desk, Comedy Central is about to boast a network first: a late-night host who’s also part of its targeted demographic.
Beloved as Stewart might be, the 52-year-old aged out of the Comedy Central’s coveted men 18-34 demographic before he began his 16-year tenure. Noah’s anointment is a clear sign that youth remains a mandate at the network — even after the selection of Nightly Show host Larry Wilmore, 53, to occupy Stephen Colbert’s old half-hour.
“This is a network audience that’s about two-thirds male overall and half of them 18-34,” says Sam Armando, a senior vp at ad firm SMGx. “The Daily Show, in its success, has been on the upper end of that. Giving the show to a 31-year-old guy can really bring down that median age.”
While young, the Daily Show viewer has aged with Stewart and is still roughly a decade older than Comedy Central’s overall average age of 30. The battle for younger audiences, increasingly hard to woo across television, has been made more difficult by Jimmy Fallon’s wildly successful transition as the host of NBC’s Tonight. During the Jay Leno era, Stewart still handily topped all of late night with adults 18-49 and 18-34 — groups he’s since ceded to Fallon. (Stewart remains on top among adults 18-24 and all of the younger male groups.)