April 13, 2024

That is, I was surprised for about five minutes. Then I recalled some of my previous conversations with Noah about his initial reluctance to join “The Daily Show” in the first place, and his overall outlook on his career – which revealed he takes much more of a worldview on things than the America-centric one you would expect from the typical host of a satirical US newscast.

Also, there was the more recent, undeniable seismic shift roiling just about everything in what had once been the remarkably grounded world of late-night television.

Considering all that, Noah’s decision – if not the exact timing of it – felt almost predictable.

Not long ago the definition of what constituted late-night television was widely and easily understood and appreciated: on the air after 11 p.m. with a charismatic host, some comedy, a desk, a guest or two, maybe a band and then “Good night, everybody!”

It was also an area of television that was holding up well against the winds of change. So much so that in the face of linear television’s accelerating erosion because of cord cutting and the flight to streaming, new late-night shows were being added all over the landscape: “Desus & Mero” and “Ziwe” on Showtime, “The Amber Ruffin Show” on Peacock. Even Fox News got into the game with a mix of comedy and hard-right agitprop on “Gutfeld!”

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