The search is over: South African comedian Trevor Noah will be your new "Daily Show" host. But when Jon Stewart first announced in February that he'd be stepping down from his post this year, speculation about his successor ran rampant, with a lot of attention going to current correspondent Jessica Williams, who quickly excused herself from the running. "Thank you but I am extremely under-qualified," she tweeted.
But even without Williams as a contender — and as good a fit for the job as Noah seems to be — did the "Daily Show" brass miss an opportunity by not finding a female candidate to take Stewart's place in the male-dominated late-night television world? As one long-running late-night male host after another has announced their retirement, their replacements have continued to be men as well: Jimmy Fallon taking over for Conan O'Brien and then Jay Leno, Seth Meyers stepping in for Fallon, James Corden succeeding Craig Ferguson and soon Stephen Colbert for David Letterman after Larry Wilmore launched a show in Colbert's old timeslot.
"Late night is still dominated by straight, white men, so any hiring decisions that fall outside those three qualities adds to the diversity of the field," says Huffington Post senior comedy editor Katla McGlynn. "Unfortunately for female comics, Fallon, Kimmel and Meyers aren't going anywhere anytime soon and three late night shows known for having long-tenured hosts have just been helmed with men. Someone will probably create a new late night show hosted by a woman before a show is turned over to one."
Speaking of, there is currently only one woman in late night — Grace Parra, co-host of Fuse's pointedly named "White Guy Talk Show" — at least until this Friday, that is, when YouTube star Grace Helbig's E! Network show premieres.
Parra, for her part, is looking forward to seeing what Noah can do. "I think he's an exciting choice. I tip my hat to him," she says. "I don't think there's a harder job to fill in television right now, so I think you need someone young and kind of new to the scene. He's gonna bring some fantastic, fresh energy."
Still, what might have been at "The Daily Show," though. "I was really gunning for a Jason Jones-Samantha Bee co-hosting situation, like a real-life Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone from 'Anchorman,'" McGlynn says. "I think a lot of people woke up and googled 'Trevor Noah' Monday and were confused after all this hope of someone big like Tina Fey getting the job. But, if they did their research, they found out that he's a really smart, funny stand-up comic and more than just the sum of his three brief 'Daily Show' segments."
As for Williams, she "would have a been a great choice. Not only is she hilarious, but she's such a strong correspondent" McGlynn says. "But she's also a young and has a long career ahead of her. Being 'The Daily Show' host is a grinding, full-time job and persona. She will probably do a lot of different things creatively during the span of Noah's tenure as host."
(Williams, for her part, has been silent on Twitter since mid-February, when she took Time magazine to task for misconstruing her words.)
Meanwhile, Lizz Winstead — who co-created "The Daily Show" along with Madeleine Smithberg back in 1996 — has also given Noah her stamp of approval:
I think @Trevornoah is hilarious and really smart. Congrats!!!— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) March 30, 2015
Good on @TheDailyShow for showing that choosing a qualified successor for a very important job should NOT take 130 days.— Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) March 30, 2015
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter: @nedrick