As a bevy of the nation’s late-night programs hope to use the coming Republican and Democratic national conventions to boost their on-air profiles, Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” wants the events to help lend it some digital-media credibility as well.
The Trevor Noah-led program will be the only one of TV’s late-night coterie to be on location for both events, holding tapings for the 2016 Republican National Convention from The Breen Center for the Performing Arts in Cleveland from Tuesday, July 19 to Friday, July 22, and the 2016 Democratic National Convention from the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia from Tuesday, July 26 to Friday, July 29. To add to its advantage, the show will take up residence in other places in which rivals like CBS’ “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” – all of which will be doing live telecasts after one or more of the days of the convention – don’t always use to the fullest.
The announcements come as programmers across Viacom, the owner of Comedy Central, strive to find new ways to get content to a young audience eager to consume it on screens other than the one that belongs to the TV set. The company has struggled for several months with ratings declines at both Comedy Central and MTV, and has installed new leaders at both networks. Experiments in the new venues could also lend “Daily Show” a boost as it works to come out from under the shadow of its previous host, Jon Stewart. Trevor Noah took the reins of the program from Stewart last fall, and has had to contend with ratings declines.
On July 15, the program will take to Snapchat, with a three-part special called “The Daily Show Convention Coverage 2016: Democalypse Now.” The specials will feature exclusive short form episodes featuring Noah and his correspondents. The first episode debuts on Friday, July 15 with a lead up to the conventions; the second episode will launch on Friday, July 22 with coverage of the Republican convention; the third episode will highlight the Democratic convention on Friday, July 29.
And the program will try to blaze other new paths. Fans who have devices linked to Amazon’s Alexa service will be able to access a “Flash Briefing” that features a daily bit of news from the show. Viewers can set Alexa to get content about candidates and upcoming guests. SiriusXM will launch and simulcast “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central Radio starting on Tuesday, July 18 making “The Daily Show” the first late night talk show to simulcast episodes on radio. Comedy Central said it believes the program will be the first of TV’s late-night talk shows to have a presence on Snapchat and Alexa as well.
The network will also host a live event around its Republican-convention tapings. “The Daily Show Convention Sideshow,” a free event open to the public, will let attendees interact with fun-house mirrors, play games and even sit at a replica of Trevor Noah’s “Daily Show” desk.
And, yes, there will be more “Daily Show” content on TV as well. Comedy Central will telecast two clip-based specials hosted by Noah on the Monday of each convention week. Each will take a look back at primary season and the defining moments of each candidate. The RNC special, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: The Road to ‘The Road, launches July 18, while the DNC special, “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah: What to Expect When You’re Expectant” airs on July 25.