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Chris Rock considered succeeding Jon Stewart as Daily Show host — but only for a year

The New York Times reports Comedy Central reached out to Chris Rock to host The Daily Show after Jon Stewart left.
The New York Times reports Comedy Central reached out to Chris Rock to host The Daily Show after Jon Stewart left.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

After Jon Stewart announced he was leaving The Daily Show, seemingly every famous comedian on the planet was discussed as a potential replacement. Though the little-known Trevor Noah ultimately got the job, it turns out the blue-sky dreams of having Chris Rock or Amy Poehler take over Comedy Central's flagship program were dreams the network shared, at least briefly.

In an excellent profile of Comedy Central's creative renaissance and struggles to navigate the new TV economy, Jonah Weiner writes for the New York Times Magazine that one of the two almost signed on.

Writes Weiner:

Comedy Central contemplated hiring several bigger stars. The network made a call to Amy Poehler, for instance, to gauge her interest. (As someone outside the company with knowledge of the exchange put it, "They were pretty much expecting her to say no, and it was the quickest no in history.") Chris Rock considered signing on, but not past Nov. 8, 2016: He wanted to cede the desk to a more permanent replacement after the next election. [Head of original programming Kent Alterman] acknowledged that Comedy Central had a lot of conversations with different people," but Noah, who had appeared several times on The Daily Show, was a favorite of Stewart's, and he won the network over. "Trevor's the only person we made an offer to," Alterman said.

The thought of a Chris Rock–hosted Daily Show, even if only for a year, seems almost too good to be true. That it apparently was a thing that very nearly happened only ignites the imagination further.

Stewart leaves The Daily Show on August 6, 2015. Noah's first show will air September 28, 2015.

Be sure to read Weiner's piece for so much more on Comedy Central's recent boom, including an account of how Charlie Sheen almost derailed Amy Schumer's currently skyrocketing career.