The Daily Show and Comedy Central have announced that, after a long search with many rumored candidates, Trevor Noah will succeed the retiring Jon Stewart as the host of the late night program. Noah, a 31-year-old stand-up comedian, has served as a correspondent for the show but, so far, has only made three appearances.

Stewart said in a statement:

I’m thrilled for the show and for Trevor. He’s a tremendous comic and talent that we’ve loved working with. I may rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!

Explaining their decision to hire Noah, who has little experience and public awareness over fan favorites like Samantha Bee or Jessica Williams, Comedy Central president Michele Gainless said, “We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job [...] You don’t hope to find the next Jon Stewart – there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different.”

Noah’s statement on the news:

It’s an honor to follow Jon Stewart. He and the team at The Daily Show have created an incredible show whose impact is felt all over the world. In my brief time with the show they’ve made me feel so welcome. I’m excited to get started and work with such a fantastic group of people.

According to the New York Times, Noah didn't even give a formal audition for the job; he was chosen based simply on his contributions while working at the show, and his stand-up appearances. Gainless said that Comedy Central had a shortlist for possible replacements from when Stewart announced his resignation on February 10 and that Noah was at the top of that list. Though he wasn't formally involved in the selection process, Comedy Central said that Stewart acted as an advisor during the process.

It's a surprising choice, mostly because people assumed the new host would be someone audiences were more familiar with (in a recent poll, Tina Fey was the choice people most wanted to see replace Stewart). But, regardless of his experience, Comedy Central clearly feels comfortable letting Noah take over their flagship franchise.

It's unclear how much, if any, of the current Daily Show staff will join Noah on the new iteration of the program.

The network has yet to confirm Stewart's exact departure or Noah's start date.

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