“The Daily Show” Builds Out Digital Brand Beyond Cable TV

Comedy Central just hired Baratunde Thurston as a supervising producer of “The Daily Show” to oversee expansion of digital content. As Trevor Noah replaces original host Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” is poised to deliver expanded content across a wide range of digital platforms. Thurston, humorist and author of “How To Be Black,” was formerly director of digital for The Onion. Online virality has become increasingly important for late night shows such as NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”

tvremoteAccording to The New York Times, Thurston notes that the new digital content will be distributed on “all this media that has become highly fragmented and swipe-able and annoying in ways that Edward R. Murrow could never have imagined.”

He says that the show’s coming changes will reflect, “a broadening of that program’s focus” when Noah takes over as anchor, and adds that, as the show shifts beyond cable video news into other platforms, “the show itself will change.”

“The Daily Show” is not alone in using digital platforms to entice viewers who may not watch the broadcast show. NYT reports that Stephen Colbert, who will debut on CBS’s “The Late Show” in September, has been experimenting with videos, podcasts and other original digital content.

The rest of Thurston’s comments reflect the humor inherent in “The Daily Show.” “What can we say that is the ‘Daily Show’ take on a space like Instagram? These places are real communities. They’re not just technical platforms. They’re like Soylent Green — they’re people.” He also mentioned that, “The Daily Show will land on Instagram, Snapchat and FlipFlamf,” the latter a platform that Thurston made up on the spur of the moment.

“We’re building that right now,” he deadpans. “It’s going to be huge.”