There’s bad news for the 2,624 of you who voted to see The Daily Show return to More4’s weeknight schedule – the broadcaster has “no plans” to bring back the US satire.
Despite the pleas of documentary-maker Louis Theroux and a whopping 99% landslide of support on our RadioTimes.com poll, it seems that all we’ll be seeing of Jon Stewart is on The Daily Show Global Edition, which currently airs on Monday evenings.
A spokesperson at Channel 4 said: “In 2010, The Daily Show had an average share of 0.38%/96,000 viewers. It was a tiny audience and in terms of performance on a commercial channel, it just wasn’t big enough. That’s what the decision came down to. When it was replaced at 8:30pm in 2011, share increased by over 250% to 1.33%/351,000 viewers.
“The Global Edition performs better at 11:30pm on a Monday, averaging a share of 0.61%/68,000 viewers.”
So, if the audience share has improved in that late-night slot, why can’t we see the four regular editions of The Daily Show stripped across Monday to Thursday on the channel?
“We kept the Global Edition on Mondays because we know that there’s an audience who love it. But it’s still not big enough for that. It’s similar to what we saw with The West Wing [the political drama that starred Martin Sheen] – it had a passionate following yet very few people watched it.”
But isn’t there room on More4 for shows with small but loyal audiences? Must the argument always boil down to ratings success? “We’re not deliberately being mean to fans. But the digital channels are commercial channels and programmes have to perform.
“The other thing to bear in mind is that More4 has been repositioned slightly and is now focusing more on features and factual entertainment. The Global Edition, though, continues to have a place on Monday evenings.”
When we asked other broadcasters whether they had any plans to air The Daily Show, the most telling response came from BBC acquisitions, who told us:
“Since More4 are currently airing a weekly version of The Daily Show, the rights would not be available for anyone else to air a daily version.”
Channel 4, though, would not discuss contractual information, so it’s not currently known when rights to the show would be up for renewal.