Comedian Trevor Noah shocked many fans by announcing his exit from The Daily Show this week, and he reportedly shocked some members of his staff as well. Sources close to the production told Deadline that some of the people working on the show were just as surprised as the in-studio audience. However, Noah may have been rushing to get the news out himself before a leak.
Insiders said that Noah felt it was "imperative" to announce his departure from The Daily Show personally, and he had reason to believe the news would leak soon if he didn't rush. This was the best explanation for why he made the announcement on the air before telling some of his production staff, but those left in the dark were still understandably hurt. The sources could say exactly how many people knew about Noah's decision before the live broadcast, nor what portion of the staff they were, but it was apparently a relatively small number.
This news was also a shocking blow considering the state of late-night TV under the Paramount umbrella in general. James Corden is leaving The Late Late Show, Full Frontal with Samatha Bee has been canceled, and Desus & Mero has ended abruptly and unceremoniously. It is reportedly unclear where Stephen Colbert's contract timing stands at the company, though Deadline confirmed that late-night hosts as ABC and NBC have long-term contracts set in stone.
The insiders said that they believed Noah simply intended to devote his time to other projects. They said he is eager to get back to long-term touring as a stand-up comedian, and that he may stand to make a lot of money doing so. They also mentioned his company Day Zero Productions, which has a huge slate of projects in the works including a feature-length adaptation of Noah's book, Born a Crime.
The company even has a mockumentary comedy series in the works which would star Noah as host. This has reportedly been well-received by Paramount+, which means that Noah may not be going too far from Comedy Central after all.
Noah himself did not name a reason but simply thanked the audience for sticking with him over the years as he bid farewell to The Daily Show. He said: "It's been wild, truly wild... I just [find] myself filled with gratitude for the journey. It's been absolutely amazing. It's something that I never expected."