EXCLUSIVE: Steve Bodow, executive producer of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, will be leaving after 16+ years with Comedy Central’s late-night franchise. He just informed the staff of the show of his decision.
Bodow’s departure is not imminent — he will stay on and help with transitional matters as well as work on a few more projects before leaving some time in the first quarter of 2019.
Bodow is one four executive producers on The Daily Show, along with Noah, Jennifer Flanz and Jill Katz. Bodow, Noah and Flanz have been overseeing creative, while Katz focuses on the production side. There are no plans to add another executive producer after Bodow exits, with Noah and Flanz, a 20-year Daily Show veteran, continuing to spearhead creative.
Bodow’s departure follows the recent exit of longtime Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon producer Mike DiCenzo. In that case, NBC brought in former Today executive producer Jim Bell as new Tonight Show showrunner.
For Bodow, who joined The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in July 2002 as a writer, the decision to leave comes on the heels of him wrapping his ninth election cycle on the show last week and The Daily Show marking its 500th episode with host Trevor Noah this week.
“It’s not an easy thing but I’ve been here a long, long time,” Bodow told Deadline. “It’s time, there are a lot of other things that I would like to do, and I’m ready to go do them.”
Over his 16+ years on The Daily Show, Bodow has served as a writer (2002-2006), Head Writer (2007-2010), Supervising Producer (2008-2010), Co-Executive Producer (2011-2013) and Executive Producer since 2013, spanning Stewart’s last two years as host and Noah’s first three years in the anchor chair.
“It’s been the ride of a lifetime professionally — all those years with Jon, and the very unusual opportunity to executive produce the same show for two different hosts, to relaunch the show with Trevor and get to this point.”
It took a little while but Noah found his voice and The Daily Show hit its stride with the new host. It reached an average weekly audience of 15M viewers with 67M video views across platforms last quarter and received its first Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety Series Talk this year. The show being in good shape also contributed to the timing of Bodow’s exit.
“Trevor is in very solid command of the show now, he knows exactly what he wants to be doing, and he’s doing it,” Bodow said. “There is a deep bench of talent here, and I think that they will do very well.”
Bodow considers successfully relaunching The Daily Show with Noah as one of the highlights of his tenure, along with The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library, on which he served as executive producer/content director.
Additionally, “I think we really pioneered convention coverage for comedy shows; a lot of places do them now but we started that,” he said, also noting The Daily Show‘s election coverage.”
Bodow mentioned several political stories that got memorable Daily Show treatment during his time there, Dick Cheney shooting a man in the face in a hunting accident, Rick Perry’s “oops” debate moment (you can watch The Daily Show segment on him below) and Hillary Clinton’s “coal gaffe.” “And covering Donald Trump has just been an amazing thing, from the moment he came down the escalator,” Bodow added.
Behind the scenes, “I’m exceptionally proud of all the writers I got to hire here over the years; many of them have risen through the ranks here and have gone on to run other shows,” Bodow said. He also acknowledged all the correspondents and contributors he’s gotten to work with, from Steve Carell, who was still on the show when he started, to Jaboukie Young-White who joined just a couple of weeks ago.
And then there is Stewart and Noah. “They both are incomparable talents, I got to work closely with each of them for a long time and learned so much from them,” Bodow said. “It’s a lot of fun and a real privilege to do this job day in and day out, covering the news, putting our spin on it and use it as a way of expressing our feelings about all the things that are going on around the world every day. It’s a very rare thing, and I will miss that a great deal, but the chance to think in different topic areas or the same one but with longer leads, more finesse and a little bit less constant drumbeat seems like a great creative challenge too.”
Bodow would not elaborate what exactly he is going to do next but noted that he has scripted and unscripted projects as well as late-night ideas in various stages.
“There’s no single quote I could give that would do justice to the time and creative brilliance Steve has given to The Daily Show,” Noah said. “In both relaunching the show and helping it grow to new heights he’s been a crucial and wonderful piece of the show and I’m excited to see what project he gets to nurture next.”
During his stint on The Daily Show, Bodow has shared in two Peabody Awards, 23 Emmy Nominations and 14 wins.
Flanz started at The Daily Show in 1998 as a production assistant during the show’s original incarnation with Craig Kilborn as host. She’s ascended through the ranks to become an executive producer in 2013. Flanz has been part of the team that has earned 11 Emmy nominations and has won 7. She also served as executive producer/content director on The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library. Additionally, Flanz plays a key role in scouting and casting the show’s stable of correspondents and contributors, including being instrumental in bringing Noah on board as a contributor prior to his appointment as host.