Viacom Inc. announced a strategic partnership with Day Zero Productions, an international production and distribution company led by Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.” Under the long-term deal, Viacom will have exclusive “first look” rights on all projects developed by Noah and Day Zero Productions in all media, including television, feature films, digital and short-form video content. Viacom will also make an investment in Day Zero.
As part of the expanded relationship, Paramount Players will adapt as a feature film Noah’s memoir, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” to which Academy Award-winner Lupita Nyong’o is attached to star as Trevor’s mother, Patricia. Noah will produce the project through his Day Zero Productions alongside Norman Aladjem, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin of Mainstay Entertainment, and Nyong’o through her Eba Productions. South African born Liesl Tommy, who earned a Tony nomination for her work directing Nyong’o in the play “Eclipsed,” will direct the film.
Bob Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, said, “Working with the best, most versatile talent in the entertainment industry is a strategic priority for Viacom, which is why we are thrilled to expand our relationship with Trevor and his creative team at Day Zero with this cross-house partnership. Trevor’s creative sensibilities and ability to drive the cultural conversation around issues that matter to our young, global audiences make him an ideal partner for Viacom across every screen we serve. We are particularly proud that ‘Born a Crime’ will be produced and distributed by Paramount.”
Kent Alterman, President of Comedy Central, said, “The degree to which people underestimated Trevor as he took over ‘The Daily Show’ has made his success all the more meaningful. Seeing audiences on multiple platforms embrace his incredible comedy chops, his thoughtful and nuanced point of view, and his global perspective has been gratifying beyond measure. Trevor has limitless curiosity, vision and passion. He is just getting started.”
Trevor Noah added, “I’ve found a strong and incredibly valuable partnership in Viacom. Our shared vision of bringing diverse cultural conversations and exciting creative projects to the forefront of the entertainment industry and to our constantly expanding audience, continues to strengthen our relationship. I couldn’t be more excited to share ‘Born a Crime’ with Paramount and the very talented Lupita Nyong’o.”
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
About Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah is the most successful comedian in Africa and is the host of the Emmy Award-winning “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah“ on Comedy Central, for which he is also an executive producer and writer. An international stand-up star, Trevor has performed to sold out audiences on five continents across the globe and has recorded nine stand-up specials, with his most recent, “Afraid of the Dark,” debuting last February. His first book, “Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood,” was released in November 2016 and became an instant New York Times bestseller, as well as Audible’s highest-rated audiobook of 2016. “Born a Crime” received the Thurber Prize for American Humor and two NAACP Image Awards, one for Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author and another for Outstanding Literary Work in the Biography/Auto-Biography category.
Noah, who took over as host of “The Daily Show” in September 2015 and recently signed an extension keeping him as host through 2022, earned his first Emmy Award last year for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series for his hosting role on “The Daily Show: Between The Scenes,” in addition to Best Host at the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards and the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. During his time at “The Daily Show” he has also received consecutive Writers Guild Award nominations for Comedy/Variety Series, a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Talk Show, and five NAACP Image Awards, including Outstanding Talk Series and Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information Show. Trevor was also nominated for “Personality of the Year” at the 2014 and 2015 MTV Africa Music Awards and won the award in 2015.
Born in South Africa to a black South African mother and a white European father, Trevor hosted numerous television shows prior to taking the helm of “The Daily Show,” including South Africa’s music, television and film awards, and two seasons of his own late-night talk show, “Tonight with Trevor Noah.” He was the subject of David Paul Meyer’s award-winning documentary film “You Laugh But It’s True” which tells the story of his remarkable career in post-apartheid South Africa. Trevor’s untitled follow-up to “Born a Crime” will be published by Random House and Audible Studios this Fall and will pick up where “Born a Crime” ends, following his journey from an aspiring young comedian in reborn South Africa to the cusp of global success.