Two weeks ago, Jon Stewart bid the The Daily Show farewell. Trevor Noah will host his first show on September 28. Therefore, there will be nearly two months when the 11:00 slot on Comedy Central has no new programming. So what should the network do to fill in the missing half-hour?
I thought Comedy Central did right when it moved At Midnight to the 11:30 slot for two weeks between the Colbert-to-Wilmore transition gap. However, Comedy Central seems to be taking a different, and wrong, approach in handling the hole Jon Stewart left. Rather than move The Nightly Show, or any new episode, to the 11:00 slot for one-and-a-half months, the network will air re-runs of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show until Trevor Noah’s term.
And these don’t appear to be classic episodes either, like the time when John Edwards announced his 2004 presidential campaign, the reveal of the Rally to Restore Sanity, or Jon’s relentless support of the 9/11 first responders. According to Zap2It‘s tv listing for Comedy Central, these are all episodes from the past season. These episodes weren’t chosen because they were classic, but because they were recent. These episodes could connect with viewers the most, and collect the most revenue.
The issue with leaving The Daily Show like this in the 11:00 time-slot is that cuts into The Nightly Show‘s ability to grow a base. First, some viewers might go to bed before 11:30, and haven’t been able to catch original runs of Larry Wilmore. (Not all of us have DVRs or can stream episodes online). Second, if a viewer flipping through the channels sees that The Daily Show is merely a re-run, the viewer will likely turn to other late night programming, like Conan or Adult Swim.
Comedy Central isn’t the only network with this predicament. David Letterman said goodbye to The Late Show back in May, and Stephen Colbert takes the reins on September 8, 2015. CBS has used the vacated hour to air re-runs of its primetime dramas. The problem that CBS has is that it undercuts The Late Late Show with James Corden. For the same reasons as listed above, Corden does not have the ability to build as strong a fanbase with the situation that CBS has left him.
Comedy Central and CBS should move The Nightly Show and The Late Late Show, respectively, to earlier time-slots so that the programs have the ability to grown their audiences. By leaving them in their current positions, the networks are hindering Wilmore and Corden’s programs and will leave themselves with fewer viewers in the long run.