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The Daily Show Regains Footing After Trevor Noah’s Exit

The Mar. 22 edition was most notable, as its 472,000 viewer figure was the first to top any of Noah’s final two weeks.

Doug Pucci



Comedy Central’s long-running satirical news program The Daily Show has entered its fourth month of weekly hosts, following the departure of Trevor Noah whose seven-year hosting stint concluded on Dec. 8, 2022.

For Noah’s final week (Dec. 5-8, 2022), the 30-minute portion of The Daily Show averaged 441,000 viewers including 147,000 within the key 25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The first batch of its guest hosts, which began in January, drew noticeably less than Noah (although still potent for today’s cable news demo levels) in comparison:

Leslie Jones (Jan. 17-19, 2023): 335,000 viewers; 129,000 adults 25-54

Wanda Sykes (Jan. 23-26, 2023): 343,000 viewers; 111,000 adults 25-54

DL Hughley (Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2023): 292,000 viewers; 107,000 adults 25-54

Chelsea Handler (Feb. 6-9, 2023): 306,000 viewers; 82,000 adults 25-54

Sarah Silverman (Feb. 13-16, 2023): 366,000 viewers; 121,000 adults 25-54

Following a one-week hiatus on President’s Week in February, it returned with a familiar face to loyal fans: Hasan Minhaj, former Daily Show correspondent from 2014-18 and host of his 2018-20 Netflix current events commentary show Patriot Act. Minhaj-hosted Daily Show episodes from Feb. 27 thru Mar. 2 averaged 341,000 viewers and 131,000 adults 25-54. As of Apr. 16, Minhaj’s week earned the best demo average of 2023 thus far.

Total viewership for Daily Show had seen slight gains from weeks prior with the hosts that followed, actor-comedian Marlon Wayans (Mar. 6-9: 359,000 viewers; 128,000 adults 25-54) and actor/former Obama staffer Kal Penn (Mar. 13-16: 369,000 viewers; 124,000 adults 25-54).

Coinciding with its return to Noah’s ratings levels from last autumn was the pending indictment of Donald Trump by a New York City grand jury. The news story of the charges against the former President who allegedly paid hush money to former porn star Stormy Daniels in the lead-up to the 2016 election provided much fodder and content to The Daily Show.

Former SNL writer/cast member and former Senator Al Franken (D-MN) hosted the editions on Mar. 20-23 (averaging 438,000 viewers; 112,000 adults 25-54). The Mar. 22 edition was most notable, as its 472,000 viewer figure was the first to top any of Noah’s final two weeks; the 450,000 on Dec. 5th was the best Noah had mustered.

Actor-comedian John Leguizamo (384,000 viewers; 110,000 adults 25-54) took over the reins on Mar. 27-30. Then, one of the show’s current correspondents Roy Wood Jr. became host from Apr. 3-6. Two of his editions also bested the Noah episodes from late November and early December, in total viewers: Apr. 4th (468,000) and Apr. 6th (480,000); the latter of which was the program’s most-watched original telecast since the night President Barack Obama was a guest on Nov. 17, 2022 (501;000).

Wood Jr. delivered 425,000 total viewers including 109,000 adults 25-54 from Apr. 3-6, which also was the week of Trump’s arraignment in New York.

Cable news averages for March 20-25, 2023:

Total Day (Mar. 20-26 @ 6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 1.310 million viewers; 154,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 0.769 million viewers; 90,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.467 million viewers; 90,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.126 million viewers; 37,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.125 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.115 million viewers; 26,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.109 million viewers; 10,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.091 million viewers; 14,000 adults 25-54

Prime Time (Mar. 20-25 @ 8-11 p.m.; Mar. 26 @ 7-11 p.m.)

  • Fox News Channel: 2.065 million viewers; 234,000 adults 25-54
  • MSNBC: 1.218 million viewers; 114,000 adults 25-54
  • CNN: 0.539 million viewers; 116,000 adults 25-54
  • Newsmax: 0.160 million viewers; 19,000 adults 25-54
  • CNBC: 0.155 million viewers; 42,000 adults 25-54
  • HLN: 0.141 million viewers; 35,000 adults 25-54
  • The Weather Channel: 0.108 million viewers; 18,000 adults 25-54
  • NewsNation: 0.092 million viewers; 17,000 adults 25-54
  • Fox Business Network: 0.065 million viewers; 11,000 adults 25-54

Top 10 most-watched cable news programs (and the top programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) in total viewers:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 3/20/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.408 million viewers

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 3/21/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.285 million viewers

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.196 million viewers

4. The Five (FOXNC, Mon. 3/20/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.128 million viewers

5. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 3/21/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.093 million viewers

6. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 3.061 million viewers

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 3/23/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.972 million viewers

8. The Five (FOXNC, Thu. 3/23/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.971 million viewers

9. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.828 million viewers

10. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Mon. 3/20/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.769 million viewers

17. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 3/20/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 2.537 million viewers

166. Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO, Fri. 3/24/2023 10:01 PM, 57 min.) 0.863 million viewers

171. Mark Twain Prize “Adam Sandler” (CNN, Sun. 3/26/2023 8:00 PM, 120 min.) 0.854 million viewers

338. The Daily Show “Mar 22, 23 – Al Franken” (CMDY, Wed. 3/22/2023 11:00 PM, 30 min.) 0.472 million viewers

383. Kudlow (FBN, Tue. 3/21/2023 4:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.361 million viewers

405. Forensic Files (HLN, late Tue. 3/21/2023 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.322 million viewers

451. Closing Bell (CNBC, Wed. 3/22/2023 3:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.275 million viewers

468. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sat. 3/25/2023 12:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.257 million viewers

576. Tooning Out The News “Episode 118” (CMDY, Wed. 3/22/2023 11:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.199 million viewers

635. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Mon. 3/20/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.174 million viewers

711. Real Sports (HBO, Tue. 3/21/2023 10:00 PM, 59 min.) 0.145 million viewers

Top 10 cable news programs (and the top  programs of other outlets with their respective associated ranks) among adults 25-54:

1. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.460 million adults 25-54

2. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Mon. 3/20/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.439 million adults 25-54

3. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Tue. 3/21/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.371 million adults 25-54

4. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Thu. 3/23/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.348 million adults 25-54

5. Gutfeld! (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 11:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.338 million adults 25-54

6. Hannity (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.323 million adults 25-54

7. Tucker Carlson Tonight (FOXNC, Fri. 3/24/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.321 million adults 25-54

8. The Five (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.316 million adults 25-54

9. Jesse Watters Primetime (FOXNC, Wed. 3/22/2023 7:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.304 million adults 25-54

10. The Five (FOXNC, Tue. 3/21/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.298 million adults 25-54

19. Rachel Maddow Show (MSNBC, Mon. 3/20/2023 9:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.249 million adults 25-54

29. Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN, Tue. 3/21/2023 8:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.220 million adults 25-54

141. Real Time With Bill Maher (HBO, Fri. 3/24/2023 10:01 PM, 57 min.) 0.133 million adults 25-54

165. The Daily Show “Mar 21, 23 – Al Franken” (CMDY, Tue. 3/21/2023 11:00 PM, 35 min.) 0.121 million adults 25-54

167. Forensic Files (HLN, late Tue. 3/21/2023 12:00 AM, 30 min.) 0.120 million adults 25-54

287. Shark Tank “Shark Tank 1315” (CNBC, Sun. 3/26/2023 10:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.092 million adults 25-54

388. Tooning Out The News “Episode 118” (CMDY, Wed. 3/22/2023 11:30 PM, 30 min.) 0.070 million adults 25-54

473. Weekend Recharge (TWC, Sat. 3/25/2023 11:00 AM, 60 min.) 0.056 million adults 25-54

489. Real Sports (HBO, Tue. 3/21/2023 10:00 PM, 59 min.) 0.054 million adults 25-54

570. The Big Money Show (FBN, Mon. 3/20/2023 1:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.042 million adults 25-54

586. Newsnation: Rush Hour (NWSN, Thu. 3/23/2023 5:00 PM, 60 min.) 0.040 million adults 25-54

Source: Live+Same Day data, Nielsen Media Research

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Soledad O’Brien Has Public Service at Heart in Her Reporting

O’Brien admits she didn’t fully grasp what public service reporting looked like until her coverage of Hurricane Katrina.



A photo of Soledad O'Brien
(Photo: Hearst Media Production Group)

“Fearless,” “determined,” and “kind,” is how many former colleagues would describe Soledad O’Brien. Awarded the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Insight Award this year at the NAB Show, the veteran journalist spoke with Barrett News Media about her career and what makes her work so impactful. 

Her love of people and figuring things out initially had O’Brien headed to Medical school. Realizing she wanted something else in life, the broadcaster found her passion translated nicely from medicine to journalism.

“I started working in a group called Centro, which was a Spanish language program at WBZ-TV. I just loved going into the newsroom because I loved the energy and the action,” O’Brien recalled. Another appeal was, “No matter if you had a great show or a terrible show, it was over and you started again.”

From WBZ-TV, she moved on to NBC News, KRON in San Fransisco, MSNBC, and back to NBC before joining CNN. For the last 11 years, the native Long Islander has been running a production company along with her own show Matter of Fact, a podcast (Who Killed JFK), and several documentaries.

This year she was honored with the LAFB Insight award for her outstanding journalistic body of work. The award comes after winning several honors in 2023, including a Peabody Award for her documentary on Rosa Parks, plus an Independent Spirit Award for a series mostly centered on Black women who are missing. Also in 2023, O’Brien was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

Soledad O’Brien was humble about her accolades, saying “It’s always a really amazing thing when your colleagues give you an honor. When people who actually understand the business and know what it takes to do the work that you do say ‘We want to celebrate the work that you’re doing.’”

She noted how beautiful the ceremony was. “It just made me feel, outside of the 10 million hairstyles I’ve had over the years, the range of stories I had the opportunity to tell and be a part of. And, hopefully, I brought some insight and some perspective which was maybe different than what other people brought.”

She noted her most meaningful story was her time in New Orleans.

“I think as a reporter, it was a big turning point. I sort of figured out that reporting was about serving the public, and I’m not sure I 100% understood that before,” Soledad O’Brien admitted. “And it was an opportunity in a story to help people understand not just the storm and the damage, which was massive.

“If you thought Hurricane Katrina was about a storm, it really wasn’t. It was about the have and the have-not in America, right? It was about access, and it was about whose voices get heard, who gets elevated, and what does it mean to be in a relatively large city in America that doesn’t seem to be getting any help pretty fast. And it was about race in America, too, and all those things which made it a very dynamic and complex and complicated story.

“I got a lot of awards for covering that story, but I really enjoyed interviewing people and helping people understand. One question we get, ‘Why don’t people just leave?’ Well, if your parents and your grandparents all live on the same block, where are you going? Can you just pick up and move into a hotel for a month? Well, no, it just doesn’t really work like that. So, I think we were able to bring a lot of insight in that story, and also help people see the lives of people who honestly we don’t really spend a lot of time covering in daily news.”

Swapping out with her co-anchor every month, O’Brien recalled leaving the area.

“We were walking through the Baton Rouge airport, and I remember I had my CNN baseball cap on and there were no showers. I remember packing baby wipes. My kids were little. And I took those big bags of baby wipes, and that’s how we cleaned ourselves up. There were no showers, obviously. We lived in an RV on Canal Street. And I remember we got a standing ovation walking through the airport. I felt like it just was a sign that what we were doing was really valuable and important, and people needed us to help them understand what was happening.

“It was really remarkable. It was very it was very emotional. We felt like, ‘Oh, this job is about serving your viewers and also serving the people whose story is unfolding in their backyards. And they need help to get assistance to understand what’s happening and to get their own perspective out.’”

Today, Soledad O’Brien said she serves the public in several different ways, including on her show Matter of Fact.

“The whole entire ethos of our show is stories as diverse as America. So in an environment where the nation is quite divided and things are often tense and unpleasant, we’re actually, kind of cutting out the middleman.” She went on to say, “We don’t really focus on politicians. We really dig into how policy lands on people. So we’re much more interested in what people have to say about their experiences. And I think that’s been a very interesting perspective for us.”

With her and her team’s focus on voices that are often ignored in the media, she believes this niche is “Exactly an example of serving the public.” Her show is also able to avoid the typical talking heads saying her show is, “Helping people understand complicated issues and stories versus, the two people on TV, they’re diametrically opposed and let them yell at each other for four minutes. And then I’m going to say, ‘Oh my goodness, thank you so much for joining me. We got to go to break now.’ I’m not doing that. And I think because we’re focused on that service, it’s really made the show very successful and popular.”

Part two of Barrett’s conversation with Soledad O’Brien will be coming to a screen near you at a later date.

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Talk Radio Talent and Producer Coaching Tips From A Master — Part 2

“Mostly with the work that I do in spoken word, I think a producer is strongest when they help pull out your point or the best part of a topic.”

Avatar photo



David G. Hall is an international radio programming consultant who achieved fame in 1991 when he reinvented news and talk radio at KFI, Los Angeles.

I recently shared his insights into coaching talk radio talents.

In part two of our conversation, DGH talks about coaching producers and talent of shows
with multiple hosts.

DW: How do you coach producers? What do you need them to do for the talent?

DGH: Well, mostly with the work that I do in spoken word I think a producer is strongest when they help pull out your point or the best part of a topic. So you say, ‘Oh, we got to talk about this bridge collapse in Baltimore, man. I don’t really know what I want to say.’ And then the producer says, ‘Well, what pisses you off about it?’ Or, ‘What’s the thing that nobody gets?’ And you go, ‘Well, nobody understands X.’ Then the producer says, ‘That’s what you start with right there. There’s your way in and then you can explain it.’

So, (the producer’s job is) to kind of pull out from you what you really want to say, because sometimes it’s hard to find that on your own when you’re just doing everything in your head. So, your producer says, ‘Ok, that’s where you want to start right there,’ and then does whatever research is necessary to help you back that up or to come up with examples or come up with audio.

DW: What about two or three people shows? How do you get them on the same page consistently, learning to think like each other, and not make those hard left turns in conversations?

DGH: I have to deal with that a lot with shows where there’s more than one person. It’s important to help people in multiple-person shows understand you don’t have to say too much to get a lot of attention. A lot of people in that second chair want to keep talking because they feel like if they don’t talk, they’re going to be invisible. But it doesn’t work that way.

So I spent a lot of my time coaching people I would call the second chair people, but they’re really co-hosts, on how to be engaging in a certain way and how to not make a hard left where then all of a sudden you have the listeners, and worse, your co-host, going ‘What the hell? How do I respond to that?’ That comes up a lot. And in music morning shows, I try to keep them from talking over each other and stuff like that.

But the hard part comes with the payoff because when they’re doing a bit or they’re doing a benchmark, I want everybody laughing and smiling as the song starts, and as soon as everybody’s laughing and smiling, get the hell out and start the song. What happens is, especially if there’s more than two people, they one-up each other, right?

So somebody has the perfect out where they should hit the song and then the other person goes ‘Oh, no, no, no,’ and then they say something that causes the first person to try to beat that and before you know it you’ve got four punchlines, each one worse than the one before. Start the song, get the hell out, and prepare for your next bit.

DW: This is great stuff. What would you add or how would you summarize all of this for radio talents and the people who coach them?

DGH: I have three things. The first is you have to be consistent and regular. So if you’re gonna tell me to do this differently, you better show up in a week to remind me because all of us on the radio get stuck in habits and in a comfort zone, right?

So I’ll do what you say today and maybe tomorrow, and by the next day, maybe half. And then by the day after that, by Friday, I’m not doing it at all. So you better show up on Friday to say, ‘Hey, I heard you on Monday, man, you sounded great!’ Then help me break bad habits and set new ones, because we all are creatures of habit when we’re on the radio.

Second thing I would say is: be as specific as possible. It was never helpful to me when someone would say ‘Great show.’ Yeah. Ok, thanks, but that doesn’t mean anything to me.

But, when the market manager or PD says, ‘Yesterday when you interviewed that guy and you asked him this question, oh my god that was fantastic!’ As a talent with ego, I’m assuming he heard the entire show, even though he’s commenting on one thing. But that one thing is much more valuable than just ‘Hey, great show’. And then the third thing I would say is Joe Crummey. I don’t know if you know the name Joe Crummey.

DW: Yes, we’ve never met but we’ve become online friends. I love his work.

DGH: When I was first PD (at KFI), Joe Crummey said something key that I think about all the time when I’m working with talent and from when I was on the radio. He said, ‘When you’re on the radio, you walk a plank every single day and you just hope to God that you don’t fall off.

‘Because, unlike television, unlike Jon Stewart or Jimmy Kimmel or Stephen Colbert, we don’t have a writer’s room of 22 people sitting behind us thinking of every brilliant word we’re gonna say. You have to mostly do it yourself and mostly do it right off the top of your head. And if you’re on the radio three hours a day, five days a week, you are coming up with 15 hours of original content every week, walking a plank, not making a fool of yourself, not humiliating yourself, and not losing your train of thought.

It’s tough to create that much original content and to keep your train of thought and not humiliate yourself.’

DW: And to do it with no real-time feedback from the audience.

DGH: Right, exactly. You have no idea how it’s landing. That was one of the most valuable things anybody has ever said to me in this business. And to this day, I think about that. When I work with talk show hosts who are on the hook for hours without anything to hide behind, no songs, maybe a newscast at the top of the hour, but not much else I always think, ‘Man, you are walking a plank and it’s all original content.’

I really respect that, I really respect the talent necessary to be able to do what we do without humiliating ourselves, without getting sued, without getting fired, and with our toes dangling off the end of that plank for hours a day, every single day.

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News/Talk Radio Hosts Need to Remember It’s Ok to Act Your Age

This same strategy can apply to a story that may pre-date your time in the market where you’re hosting your show. Study up, but lean on those who know.



Professional microphone in radio studio

For many, we all can fall into a groove of trying to be something we’re not. And the audience is bound to sniff you out as inauthentic. The older radio guy wants to seem hip when discussing social media and refers to his account as “Face-Chat” and “You-Book.” Oops. The younger guy wants to pretend he knows everything about the 1980 election, including the myth that Ronald Reagan came from 10 points down in late October to beat Jimmy Carter. You can read about it here.

I bring this up in the wake of last week’s breaking news story surrounding the death of O.J. Simpson. Social media exploded with reactions and hysterical memes, while talk radio re-lived “The Trial of the Century.”

As someone who was six years old during the White Bronco chase and seven years old as the trial unfolded, I have little memory of the trial itself. I remember it, but the day-to-day details are meaningless. As someone interested in historical events, I’ve read plenty about it and watched documentaries, but I wasn’t there. My only memory of it is watching O.J. on the news in my parents’ kitchen.

So, the day after O.J.’s death was announced, I had minimal anecdotal stories to share. And if you’re a younger host, there’s no reason to be embarrassed by this. After all, it was 30 years ago at this point. Now, someone over 55 might think it was 20 years ago, but my dad, pushing 70, believes 1978 was 30 years ago. It was over 45. So, I rest my case. Time is a blur. You have nothing to be ashamed of. 

But at the same time, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

I spent Friday morning discussing how infatuated I was diving deep into YouTube archives, finding old local TV clips in Los Angeles from the Rodney King riots, mentioning New York Times articles I stumbled upon during the trial in 1995, and weaving that into the content of the day. My approach was to be the authority on the topic since that’s the job, but not pretend that I lived through it in any meaningful way.

That’s when I tapped into guests. Gregg Jarrett from Fox News covered the trial for Court TV. His stories were outstanding. On a whim, I reached out to Randy Cross, a former 49ers player who spent two seasons as a teammate with O.J., and he shared insights that only he could share.

Then, we worked from our local angle, with a great story from former Kansas City sports anchor Frank Boal, who talked about the Bruno Magli shoes that were a centerpiece in the trial. Coincidentally, a photo was used from when O.J. Simpson was on Monday Night Football broadcasting a game at Arrowhead Stadium where he was wearing… you guessed it, Bruno Magli shoes.

So, let your experts be experts. And don’t try to trick your audience into being something you’re not. Let them share their stories as well. Several California transplants to the KC area shared incredible stories from their lives. Let them be the stars and have their moment, assuming it’s compelling content.

This same strategy can apply to a story that may pre-date your time in the market where you’re hosting your show. Study up, but lean on those who know, let your audience participate if and when appropriate, and don’t be the know-it-all, especially when it’s obvious you can’t be on the same level as some of those listening.

Your audience will thank you for it because you’re being authentic with them, and that’s what they want. If you lose your authenticity, you’re done. 

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