Trevor Noah to Focus on Snapchat and Web for Millennial 'Daily Show' Viewers

'Our Go-To Source is No Longer Dictated by a Small Group of Cable News Outlets'

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Trevor Noah.
Trevor Noah. Credit: Peter Yang/Comedy Central
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Trevor Noah, the new host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," said the program will step up efforts to reach viewers on Snapchat and other online platforms when he takes over Monday night.

"We're trying to find a way to get into those spaces in an authentic way and not just trying to chop up the "Daily Show," Mr. Noah said at a press event Friday in New York. "We acknowledge that Snapchat is a thing, and so we will treat it accordingly and we'll do that for every source that we feel merits that."

Jon Stewart hosted his final show in August, capping a 17- year run in which he became a go-to source for younger viewers for his sharp and humorous take on current events. Noah's Sept. 28 debut will be simulcast across all of parent company Viacom's networks, which include MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon. The 31-year-old South African comedian will have a wide range of guests his first week, including Kevin Hart on his first night, musician Ryan Adams, tech entrepreneur Whitney Wolfe and New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.

The way Americans consume news, even humor, is undergoing a dramatic shift to online outlets. Advertisers are moving their spending from TV to the Web and mobile devices to reach younger, more tech-savvy viewers.

The explosion of online outlets has forced "The Daily Show" to not only find new ways to reach audiences, but also expand where its writers get their material, Mr. Noah said.

"Our go-to source is no longer dictated by a small group of cable news outlets," he said. "Sometimes a story is made and breaks on Twitter and we have to find a way to react to that."

As part of its revamped digital effort, the show recently hired writer-comedian Baratunde Thurston, the former digital director for the satirical website the Onion.

The show will feature more live music than it did under Mr. Stewart, though the format will be largely unchanged, Mr. Noah said.

"What you're going to see is a big difference in the style," Mr. Noah said. "I look at the "The Daily Show" as a beautiful house that I've inherited. I'm not going to break the house down."

The past few years have been a sea-change in late-night television with the retirements of long-time talk-show hosts Jay Leno and David Letterman, who were replaced by Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert, respectively. Comedy Central has been hit particularly hard by the changes, losing "The Daily Show" guest- host John Oliver to HBO and Colbert to CBS.

Mr. Noah said he doesn't have plans to "target" any politicians yet and Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump would be welcome on the show.

"Donald Trump is an interesting one because the truth of the matter is he doesn't say much," Mr. Noah said. "Really what we're doing is enjoying the spectacle of it all. We're indulging in it, but at some point our indulgence may come back to bite us."

-- Bloomberg News