Comedy Central has made its choice for 11:30 p.m., upping The Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper to full-time host of his own program.
The network on Tuesday said that Klepper, like Stephen Colbert before him, will be bringing his Daily Show persona along to the yet-to-be-named half-hour series. The companion show will air Monday through Thursday, beginning in the fall.
"Jordan's talent has become so increasingly obvious it would take a real fool to not offer him this opportunity," Comedy Central president Kent Alterman said in a statement.
But Klepper was hardly an immediate choice. The half-hour has been occupied by a shifted @midnight for almost eight months since the sudden cancelation of Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show. The original heir to the time slot once occupied by The Colbert Report, Wilmore failed to bring in as big an audience or retain a substantial portion of his Daily Show lead-in. The Daily Show had also just undergone a hosting changeover with the 2015 departure of Jon Stewart and the arrival of Trevor Noah.
Klepper's new series, not to be confused with the weekly The President Show announced Monday, is in the early stages of development. It will be produced by Klepper, Noah and former Jon Stewart staffer Stuart Miller. (Sarah Babineau and Ari Pearce are the executives in charge of production for Comedy Central.)
"The choice to entrust me with the 11:30 p.m. time slot is both incredibly humbling and deeply disturbing," said Klepper in one of the network's typically tongue-in-cheek statements. "Without a doubt, it has utterly destroyed my confidence in Comedy Central's decision-making acumen. Dear God, now I have to work with these fools."
Klepper is an alum of both The Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade. He originally joined The Daily Show in 2014, first appearing on-air shortly after his audition, and stayed on through the Stewart-Noah transition. Just before the 2016 presidential election, Klepper filled in as host for one episode of The Daily Show when Noah called in sick. Klepper seems like he will be bringing a very political take to the show. Both his studio work and field segments on the show veered political, including his multipart series "Good Guy With a Gun" and his many field pieces at then-candidate Donald Trump's rallies. A network release noted that the show "will look to embrace and define the chaos of our country by channeling Klepper's steadfast attitude that institutions are to be trusted less than the lies of the mainstream media."
Comedy Central has seen ratings and critical momentum for Trevor Noah's Daily Show increase since the 2015 premiere, but the network is still far from the glory days of the Stewart-Colbert combo. The pair of shows was once the top-rated, among adults 18-49, in all of late-night. But the turnover at Comedy Central has coincided with sweeping changes in the older broadcast time slots with moves for Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, James Corden and Colbert. The cable landscape has also gotten more crowded. Daily Show alums John Oliver and Samantha Bee were two of the most talked-about late-night hosts of the past election with their respective series on HBO and TBS.
But it's also very clear that Comedy Central is not taking the genre's evolution and growth lying down. Both Klepper's series and The President Show, starring comedian Anthony Atamanuik in character as Donald Trump, are evidence that the network is trying to remain in the political conversation as the new administration offers up more ammunition for comedians and journalists - and also driving ratings for those covering it.
Klepper is repped by UTA and Kirsten Ames Management.