Critics had plenty of nice things to say about Trevor Noah’s The Daily Show debut, but viewers yawned over his arrival. Despite weeks of hype and substantial marketing on the part of Comedy Central, Monday’s inaugural telecast of the Noah-hosted TDS was seen by a modest 1.1 million people at 11 p.m. on the network. That’s hardly a disastrous number — it’s only about 10 percent below what Stewart had been averaging of late. And among viewers under 50, Noah notched a respectable 0.4 rating, also not far from the Stewart-era average. It’s also likely additional viewers sampled Noah’s comedy via a simulcast of The Daily Show on other networks owned by Comedy Central parent Viacom. Still, given all of the media attention around Noah’s arrival, it’s a bit surprising more viewers weren’t interested in checking out the new guy’s act. One possible explanation for the soft launch: The young viewers Comedy Central is hoping Noah will bring to the table simply weren’t measured by Nielsen’s overnight sample and instead watched his debut on the Comedy Central app or via online clips. If that’s the case, expect Comedy Central to trumpet those numbers loudly in the weeks ahead.
Trevor Noah. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/2015 Getty Images