Jon Stewart’s Daily Show Ratings Halo Effect Continues in Week 2

Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show continues to pay off for Comedy Central.

According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, The Daily Show averaged 671,000 total viewers for the week of Feb. 19, Jon Stewart’s second week as Monday host. That’s a +9% gain from the week prior—which included Stewart’s highly-publicized Feb. 12 return—and is the show’s largest average weekly audience in several years.

Stewart’s Monday, Feb. 19 episode brought in an average of 2.44 million total viewers and 440,000 P18-49 viewers after live-plus-three-day data is taken into account. That’s +48% in total viewers and +18% in P18-49 viewers from Stewart’s return episode on Comedy Central. It’s also the largest total viewership the show has seen on its original network since Stewart’s final episode as full-time host on Aug. 6, 2015.

The Stewart effect isn’t just boosting The Daily Show on Mondays. There appears to be a halo effect for the rest of the week, which is hosted on Tuesday through Thursday by a rotation of Daily Show correspondents.

Last week’s non-Stewart Daily Show episodes (Tuesday-Thursday) averaged 486,000 total viewers, per Nielsen live plus same day data. Not only is that up from The Daily Show’s year to-date average, it’s also +5% when compared with the same time period the week before. Desi Lydic was at the anchor desk this past Tuesday-Thursday.

For reference, prior to the writers’ strike in May, rotating Daily Show guest hosts averaged 369,000 total viewers per show; when The Daily Show resumed in mid-October after writers’ strike concluded, that average fell to roughly 300,000 viewers on average.

Not all of the ratings news for The Daily Show is rosy. There was a week-to-week drop-off in linear viewing among people under 50, a trend pervasive across the industry. The Daily Show averaged 130,000 P18-49 this past week, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data. That’s an -11% decline from the week prior. The week-to-week decline isn’t quite as steep on those non-Stewart days. The broadcast shed just -2% of its P18-49 audience from the prior Tuesday-Thursday time period.

It’s possible the negative P18-49 ratings trend reverses after delayed data for the week of Feb. 19 arrives. We’ll keep tabs on that.

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