The transition from longtime "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart to Trevor Noah has been smooth for Comedy Central. The late-night program is now top-rated among the 18-24 audience and has increased its viewership among African-Americans who are 18-34 by 100%, but it has also seen a dip among 18-49 viewers compared with last year. Advertisers have remained loyal, with sponsorships reserved through early 2016.
Broadcasters must ensure that the Olympics, major football games and other so-called "big tent" events remain on their networks and not migrate to niche pay TV channels, according to NBC Universal Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol. "It's key that these broadcast events stay broadcast events," Ebersol said at the TVB Forward Conference in New York. "We must support each other in going after them."
WABC in New York will celebrate host Bob Grant's 40 years in talk radio with a two-hour "roast" on Monday. The station's Mark Simone will anchor the tribute, which will include live testimonials from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Monica Crowley and other talk radio stars.
Government can play a role in helping media manage the transition to the new multiplatform reality, but should not provide a "bailout," according to FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker. "Without true independence from government, the press could not serve its proud role as a check on governmental authority," Baker said at the Capitol Hill Media Summit. "Direct government funding of journalism would also erode the public's attitude toward media, an attitude already characterized by more skepticism than trust."
Comedy Central has completed work on a pilot that will satirize sports the way "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" spoofs news. "Sports Central" will be executive produced by veterans of the "Daily Show" and "The Ben Stiller Show."