Kal Penn in the Running to Take Over as ‘The Daily Show’ Host (Exclusive)

The actor and Hasan Minhaj are among the four finalists to replace Trevor Noah

Courtesy of Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Kal Penn is in the running to replace Trevor Noah as host of “The Daily Show,” TheWrap has learned exclusively.

Penn, who hosted the show as a guest host March 13-16, is among four leading candidates who could be tapped as a permanent host, including Hasan Minhaj, according to an individual close to the decision-making process.

The late-night Comedy Central program has been seeking a permanent host to replace Noah since he left “The Daily Show” in December 2022. The show has been cycling through various guest hosts, including a slew of celebrities from February to March before TDS correspondents and contributors like Roy Wood Jr., Desi Lydic and Jordan Klepper took over hosting for subsequent months.

A representative for Comedy Central did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The rotating hosts also benefitted the show ratings-wise, as “The Daily Show” saw a 21% boost in ratings from January to mid-April 2023 when compared to the same weeks last year.

Penn and Minhaj were among the first wave of celebrities who guest hosted the show alongside including Leslie Jones, Wanda Sykes, D. L. Hughley, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Marlon Wayans, Al Franken and John Leguizamo.

According to TheWrap’s ratings breakdown of the celebrity hosts, Franken drew in the highest viewership of the first group of guests hosts with a total average viewership with 792,000. Leguizamo and Silverman came in second and third place, respectively. Penn came in fourth place in the ratings with an average of 606,000 total viewers while Minhaj followed next in fifth place with an average of 602,000 viewers.

Penn’s first night hosting, which included an interview with President Biden, saw 658,000 viewers tune in, before viewership decreased on Tuesday and Wednesday, with 614,000 and 570,000 total viewers tuning in, respectively. Penn received a slight boost on Thursday, drawing in 580,000 viewers to finish out the week.