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Jon Stewart’s Replacement on The Daily Show Should Be a Woman

3 minute read

Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show, and Comedy Central is presumably looking for a replacement. This is a no-brainer: it should be a woman.

In the past two years, there’s been so much turnover in late-night television: Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, James Corden and Larry Wilmore have all taken over old shows, or started new ones. A reader needn’t be particularly astute to notice that none of these people are women. There are, in fact, no women on late-night television at all. (Chelsea Handler was reportedly in talks to take the CBS Late Show spot, but ultimately wasn’t chosen. She has an upcoming late-night-style show on Netflix, but it hasn’t aired yet — and technically, it can’t really qualify as a late-night show in the traditional sense, since it’s on a streaming service.)

If there is any network that should “take a risk” on a female host, it should be Comedy Central. (Yes, it’s ridiculous that a woman hosting her own show is a “risk” in 2015.) The channel has done tremendous work to bolster the platforms of female comics in the past couple of years, adding shows like Inside Amy Schumer and Broad City—which was created by and stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson—to its traditionally male-dominated lineup.

Ratings have proven that viewers, including men, will tune in to watch these funny ladies. Inside Amy Schumer was the most watched series premiere for the channel in 2013, drawing a 50/50 male-female demographic despite tackling topics like objectification, discrimination and gender politics with a distinctly feminist tone. (Comedy Central’s audience is about 60% male overall.) Meanwhile, Broad City has earned critical acclaim and averaged 1.3 million viewers per episode in its first season. Compare that to FX’s Louie, which pulls in just over 1 million viewers per episode — despite being in its fourth season with a much better-known comedian at the helm.

The Daily Show has long been the core of Comedy Central’s lineup, and without it, the network will depend on these female-led shows to buoy their viewership. Given that, choosing a female host for this empty slot isn’t a matter of affirmative action — it’s just smart business.

That’s the dollars and cents argument. Now, for the idealistic one.

Comedy Central — and The Daily Show specifically — has long been an incubator for talent. It’s lovingly groomed Stewart, Colbert and Oliver, along with Steve Carell, Ed Helms and more, then sent them on to do bigger and better things. These men have become icons in their own right, an indelible piece of comedy history. It’s time that they do the same thing for a woman.

Read Next: How Amy Schumer Gets Guys to Think Feminists Are Funny

See Jon Stewart's Career Over the Years

THE DAILY SHOW, 1996-present, Jon Stewart 1999-present
Jon Stewart takes the reins as anchor of The Daily Show in 1999.Comedy Central/Everett
Stewart gets a cameo as Kevin Gerrity in the 1999 Adam Sandler movie Big Daddy.Columbia
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno - Season 9
Jay Leno interviews Jon Stewart on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in 2000.NBC/Getty Images
Stewart plays Marion Frank Stokes in the 2002 black comedy Death to SmoochyWarner Bros.
55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Press Room
Jon Stewart and his team win the first of many Emmys for The Daily Show in 2003.Chris Weeks—FilmMagic/Getty Images
The 78th Annual Academy Awards - Jon Stewart Portraits
Jon Stewart hosts the 78th Academy Awards in 2006.Academy of Motion Picture Arts—WireImage/Getty Images
Stewart has a cameo as himself on The Simpsons in 2008 in the episode "E Pluribus Wiggum."Fox
Jon Stewart And Stephen Colbert Hold Rally On National Mall
Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart host the Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear on the National Mall on Oct. 30, 2010 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee—Getty Images
US President Barack Obama (L) tapes an i
Jon Stewart interviews President Barack Obama on The Daily Show at the Harman Center for the Arts in Washington, DC, Oct. 26, 2010.Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images
51st USO Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner - Inside
Jon Stewart speaks at the 51st USO Armed Forces Gala & Gold Medal Dinner on Dec. 13, 2012 in New York City.Michael Loccisano—Getty Images
ROSEWATER, front, from left: Gael Garcia Bernal, Jon Stewart, on set, 2014. ©Open Road
Stewart makes his directorial debut in the 2014 drama Rosewater.Open Road Films
Jon Stewart announces his retirement for the end of 2015.Comedy Central

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com