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Trevor Noah's exit from 'The Daily Show' signals a changing view of the throne in late-night News84Media

News 84

Johnny Carson’s more than 30-year reign as the king of late-night television host “The Tonight Show” had a tremendous impact on the hosts who followed him, who acted as if reaching that “throne” was the pinnacle of show business success, according to him.

Trevor Noah’s decision to walk away from “The Daily Show,” after James Corden announced his plans to leave CBS’s “Late Late Show” next year, suggests that for a new generation of comedians, getting to the stage no longer necessary is considered a prison sentence. forever.

Apparently the direct heirs of Carson, David Letterman and Jay Leno saw “The Tonight Show” as the most coveted accolade in television comedy. The third member of the trio who stepped up as part of a late-night shift after Carson showed everyone “A Very Honest Good Night” in 1992, Conan O’Brien, displayed the same work-force mentality, rambling (albeit in different places), like his Top Letterman, for more than three decades.

Those who have taken the baton pass from this trio, spiritually if not literally, seem to remain equally committed to their seats, with Jimmy Kimmel recently extending his contract with ABC through the 23rd season, and Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon settling on CBS and NBC, respectively.

However, this reflects a mindset rooted in an earlier era of television, where people were seen as creatures of habit, going to bed watching Carson year after year, no matter who the guests were or how many weeks of vacation he had at the end of his run.

In that sense, “Saturday Night Live,” while somewhat of a different animal, is a symbol of the inertia that dominated television when it debuted during Gerald Ford’s management, attaching new faces to the machine but progressing as the show prepared to take off. Its 48th season.

However, having taken over from Jon Stewart seven years ago, Noah has made it clear he still has comedic hills to climb that don’t include sitting behind a desk.

“After seven years, I feel like it’s time,” he said. “I realized there was another part of my life that I wanted to keep exploring.”

On the plus side, more late-night changeover will create opportunities for new voices and diverse talent, at a time when there has been some shrinkage in the night’s streak after everyone seemed to be piling into the boat.

Notably, the latest generation of late talent is dominated by those who started working on Stewart’s version of “The Daily Show,” including Colbert, perennial Emmy winner John Oliver, Noah and Samantha Bee.

After a stint in the wilderness, Stewart settled on his copy of Chapter Two, which included plenty of action for causes he believes in — most notably his advocacy on behalf of veterans — as well as a show for Apple TV+. Letterman and Leno also didn’t really emulate Carson’s choice to retire when he left “Tonight.”

It remains to be seen where Noah and Corden go from here. Compared to the late-night era set by Carson, we’ve moved on to a different Game of Thrones.