While it will be several more years before America chooses its next president, Comedy Central already knows who it wants to lead its satirical news coverage through the 2020 election season and for a couple of years beyond that.
The five-year extension is a strong show of support for Mr. Noah, the South African-born comedian who succeeded Jon Stewart at “The Daily Show” in September 2015. Mr. Noah will remain the anchor of this topical satire program, as well as a writer and an executive producer. He will also produce and host annual year-end specials for Comedy Central. (As the network put it in a news release, “‘The Daily Show’ will no longer take for granted that humankind has made it to another Dec. 31.”)
Striking a similarly apocalyptic tone, Mr. Noah said in a statement, “It’s really exciting to renew this contract for either five more years or until Kim Jong-un annihilates us all — whichever one comes first.”
Mr. Noah’s incarnation of “The Daily Show” drew an average nightly audience of just over 1 million viewers for the week ending Sept. 1, according to Nielsen, well short of the 2 million or more who tuned in for Mr. Stewart’s program by the end of his 16-year tenure.
But Comedy Central cited other positive trends in its decision to extend Mr. Noah’s contract, including growth among overall viewers, and viewers aged 18 to 49, over the program’s 2016-17 season. The network said that “The Daily Show” was on pace this quarter to become the most-watched daily late-night talk program among millennial viewers (aged 18 to 34).
Kent Alterman, the president of Comedy Central, said in a phone interview, “We have never had any lack of confidence in Trevor. Quite the opposite, we’ve never wavered in our belief in him, and now what we’re seeing is that the rest of the world has taken notice and expressed the same confidence.”