Viacom puts shows back on Web after Stewart jab
- Last Updated: 11:12 AM, July 18, 2012
- Posted: 10:34 PM, July 17, 2012
Jon Stewart’s chomp into the hand that feeds him likely influenced Viacom’s decision to put many of its shows back online yesterday during its ongoing feud with DirecTV.
Viacom, which produces Stewart’s “The Daily Show,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Colbert Report,” among others, has been locked in a contract dispute with DirecTV over programming fees.
Earlier this month, Viacom pulled 17 of its channels from DirecTV — including Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central.
Then, rubbing salt into the wound, Viacom pulled free online episodes of its shows off the Internet — so all viewers, including the 20 million DirecTV subscribers, couldn’t watch them online.
Stewart, back from vacation Monday night, wasted no time blasting both Viacom and DirecTV — but reserved most of his bile for Viacom.
“Viacom, DirecTV, what are you doing here?” he said. “You’ve got ad campaigns blaming each other for taking the shows away, telling people to rise up and demand it like it’s some kind of basic cable Arab Spring.
“I’ve got news for you — it’s not.”
Then, addressing Viacom, Stewart said, “You’re pulling the shows from the Internet? Viacom, what are you, China?”
Stewart also mocked the dispute by using, as an example, Oprah Winfrey’s vanishing act since ending her syndicated show in May 2011.
“None of this matters,” he said. “None of this is indispensible. Do you remember Oprah? Exactly. She went off the air and for like three days millions of viewers were like, ‘Oh no, what are we gonna do?
“But you know what happened on Day Four? They were like, ‘Who’s this Ellen [DeGeneres] lady? I like the cut of her jib.”
Yesterday, Viacom announced in a blog posting that it was putting its shows back online — including “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.”
It also cited Stewart’s “wasting no time weighing in” on the Viacom/DirecTV dispute.
“ ‘The Daily Show’ continues to exercise the creative and editorial freedom that makes it consistently great,” it said.
“Despite reports last week that we had pulled all our full episode content from the Web, we still have literally thousands of full episodes available online for free, and we brought ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘Colbert’ back online to coincide with their return with new episodes.
“We hope this is helpful to our fans with DirecTV who have yet to switch to a cable/satellite provider that carries Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, BET and all our 26 networks.”