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Ratings: Fox News beats Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” return

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, being interviewed by Jon Stewart for an episode of "The Daily Show."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Navy Admiral Michael Mullen, being interviewed by Jon Stewart for an episode of “The Daily Show.” (Photo by Chad J. McNeeley, U.S. Navy / Public domain)

Comedian Jon Stewart’s return to Comedy Central’s news satire program “The Daily Show” wasn’t enough to topple the late-night leader in cable news.

Viewership data released by Nielsen Media this week showed Stewart’s much-anticipated return to The Daily Show drew 930,000 overall viewers to Comedy Central, including around 320,000 viewers in the key demographic of adults ages 25 to 54 years old (A25-54).

By comparison, Fox News Channel’s evening news program “Fox News @ Night” grabbed around 1.3 million overall viewers in the same 11 p.m. time slot, a difference of around 370,000 households.

Fox News’ late night comedy program “Gutfeld!,” which airs one hour earlier than The Daily Show, also saw higher ratings compared to Stewart’s debut, with 2.2 million viewers tuning in to Fox News at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, including 328,000 in the A25-54 demographic, according to Nielsen.

A decision by Paramount Global, the parent company of Comedy Central, to simulcast Stewart’s return broadcast on other channels like TV Land, Paramount Network and Pop helped lift the Daily Show’s overall ratings to 1.85 million, according to Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day ratings data. That figure included encore broadcasts of the show on Paramount-owned cable networks, but not streams on Paramount Plus with Showtime.

Still, even with the simulcasts and encores factored in, Monday’s Daily Show broadcast saw around 350,000 viewers compared to Gutfeld! on Fox News.

Stewart joined the Daily Show in 1998, serving as the half-hour program’s host for 16 years. He left the program in 2015 and passed hosting duties on to fellow comedian Trevor Noah, whose last broadcast in December 2022 grabbed 443,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen.

Stewart will reprise his role as host of the Daily Show on Mondays through the end of the 2024 presidential election cycle. Other comedians, including Daily Show correspondents and guests, will fill in as host throughout the rest of the week.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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