Jon Stewart’s Second Episode Delivers Comedy Central Its Largest Daily Show Audience in Nearly 9 Years

The Jon Stewart experiment appears to be working, at least from a viewership standpoint.

On Monday, Feb. 19, 1.26 million total viewers tuned into The Daily Show on Comedy Central for Stewart’s second consecutive Monday as part-time host. That marks the largest total viewership the show has seen on its original network since his final episode as full-time host on Aug. 6, 2015.

Stewart’s Daily Show return on Feb. 12 technically drew more viewers — 1.9 million, per live-plus-same-day data. However, that episode was simulcast across several Paramount-owned cable networks — MTV, Paramount Network, TV Land, CMT, Pop, MTV2 and Logo —whereas the Feb. 19 episode aired exclusively on Comedy Central.

An average of 930,000 total viewers watched Stewart’s Feb. 12 return on Comedy Central, which means the network saw +35% week-to-week growth in total viewers on Monday. However, an average of 224,000 P18-49 tuned into this past Monday’s episode, which is -4% from the Feb. 12 return episode on Comedy Central (234,000).

Again, these numbers are for live-plus-same-day linear viewing, and numbers will rise in the coming days once delayed-viewing data arrives. Additionally, these totals exclude viewing on streaming or social consumption — areas where The Daily Show has traditionally performed quite well.

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.

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