Elon alumnus and his ‘Daily Show’ digital team win Creative Arts Emmy

Nicholas Dyer ’11, senior producer for the late-night Comedy Central program, was honored with colleagues on Sept. 9 at the Creative Arts Emmy Award show in Los Angeles.

For the past two years, the online content produced by Nicholas Dyer ’11 and the digital expansion team at “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” has garnered countless clicks, likes and shares. Now the team must start tracking a new figure: Emmy wins.

Elon alumnus Nicholas Dyer ’11 (center), senior producer at Comedy Central for “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” called his moment on stage at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Award show “surreal,” adding that it was the culmination of two years of hard work by the show’s digital expansion team. Also pictured are Jocelyn Conn (left), coordinating producer, and Jennifer Flanz, executive producer. All photos courtesy of Dyer.
​​At this month’s 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Award show in Los Angeles, Dyer and his “Daily Show” colleagues collected a Creative Arts Emmy for “Outstanding Short Form Variety Series,” recognizing their online content supplementing the late-night television staple. Other nominees in the short form category included past Emmy winners “Honest Trailers” and “Epic Rap Battles of History.”

The Sept. 9 show, which was devoted primarily to unscripted, variety and documentary programming, was the first of two Creative Arts Emmys shows this year.

Anthony De Rosa (left), a digital production manager for “The Daily Show,” and Dyer celebrate their team’s Emmy win following the Sept. 9 event in Los Angeles.
​A broadcast and new media major at Elon, Dyer today serves as the senior producer for Comedy Central at “The Daily Show,” supporting the program’s development of digital content, strategy and production. To date, he’s produced more than 300 episodes of TV for online audiences, and he helps manage the show’s social media accounts and web presence.

Talk about coming full circle. In 2007, Elon assigned its entire first-year class, which included Dyer, to read Al Gore's book, "An Inconvenient Truth." Ten years later Dyer got the chance to meet with the former U.S. vice president while working at Comedy Central and talked about the best-selling text.
​Having worked behind the scenes since 2015 at the late-night program, Dyer found himself in a different position at the Emmy Awards show: in front of the camera. Accompanied by his fellow digital expansion team members, Dyer said he felt comfortable on stage, but admitted time seemed to stand still.

“I wasn’t nervous, but I couldn’t tell you what was said during the acceptance speech or how long we were on stage,” he said. “It all felt so surreal; definitely one the crazier moments of my career.”

While “The Daily Show” has a long history of Emmy success, it is the first time the digital expansion team and Dyer’s collaborative works have received television’s highest honor. It was also the first Emmy award for host Trevor Noah, a point of pride for Dyer.

“For me, the highlight of the night was being recognized for all of our hard work over the past two years,” Dyer said. “We have a big team and a lot of work goes into producing the show day in and day out. Trevor and the entire digital expansion team at ‘The Daily Show’ are some of the most talented people in the business.”

Propelled by these creative minds, the comedy show has continued to stand out in a crowded late-night space. “We’re the most engaging late-night show online (total engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and people are really starting to take notice,” Dyer said. “We’re building off of our past successes and continue to lead the conversation online.”

Other television critics and organizations have also taken notice of the show’s successful multiplatform efforts. In addition to the Emmy Award, the program won a 2017 Shorty Award, presented at an annual show that honors the best content creators and producers on social media. The team’s entry, “The Daily Show: When was America Great,” was recognized in the “Best Use of Humor” category.

Dyer (center) was a featured speaker at Social Media Week, participating in a panel discussion that included members of “The Daily Show’s” digital expansion team and correspondents. The event was an in-depth discussion about the daily conversation that happens between the show and its fans on social media. Also pictured are Akash Goyal (left), vice president, Comedy Central Multiplatform Content Strategy; Ramin Hedayati, supervising producer; Jocelyn Conn, coordinating producer; Eliza Cossio, digital producer; Roy Wood Jr., correspondent; and Hasan Minhaj (right), correspondent.
​Individually, Dyer also served in March as a featured speaker at Social Media Week – an event that bills itself as one of the world’s premier conferences for professionals at the intersection of media, marketing and technology.

“When I started working for ‘The Daily Show,’ we were a new team on a new show with a new host. We were experimenting with a variety of formats and strategies, while also trying to figure out the voice of the show,” Dyer said. “A big part of my job back then was making sure we were producing and putting out the best content from each episode to introduce Trevor to the world. Now that we’re two years and over 300 episodes in, we’ve become more of a newsroom that operates like a comedy show. We’ve expanded our production and we’re creating original content on every platform as news breaks and events unfold.”

Since his Elon graduation, Dyer hasn’t been afraid to change course and challenge himself. Following a year at Lenoir-Rhyne University as a multimedia producer, he worked in digital operations for TV Land in New York City, before landing at Comedy Central. Prior to “The Daily Show,” Dyer produced digital content for some of the channel’s most prominent shows, including “South Park,” “Tosh.0” and “Nathan For You.”

​“My advice for current students looking to break into the entertainment industry is to focus on finding job opportunities that are out of your comfort zone,” he said. “Experience is the most important ingredient for a successful career, even more so than landing that big flashy job right after graduation.”

As for Elon, Dyer credits his alma mater for providing him numerous outlets to explore his creativity, including directing, producing, writing, filming and editing.

“Elon provided me the opportunity to learn every aspect of the entertainment industry,” he said. “My time at Elon really helped shape who I am today, and I have Elon to thank for giving me a foundation to succeed.”