March 3rd, 2010
03:49 PM ET

Comedy Central pulls 'Daily Show,' 'Colbert Report' from Hulu

Comedic television hosts continue to be at the center of programming battles as Comedy Central, owned by Viacom, Inc., has decided to pull "The Daily Show with John Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" from Hulu.com, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As of March 9, Hulu will lose the rights to the two half-hour shows, but that doesn't mean they're disappearing from the Internet entirely. Full episodes will still be streamed on TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com.

Andy Forssell, Hulu's Senior Vice President of Content and Distribution, characterized the split in a blog post as a parting of ways that may not be permanent, noting that Comedy Central's content had been incredibly beneficial to the free service.

"In the past 21 months, we’ve had very strong results for both Hulu and Comedy Central, in terms of the views and revenue we’ve generated, thanks to a couple of key trends," Forssell wrote. "First, more and more of our viewers have voted with their time by making these shows a regular part of their day. And second, we’ve driven steadily increasing revenue per view as advertisers voted with their budgets to take advantage of innovative ad formats and very strong advertising effectiveness."

Alas, after some back-and-forth with Comedy Central, Hulu will have to say good-bye to those comedic cash cows for now.


Filed under: television

soundoff (63 Responses)
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  4. Tempered

    I always try to "go to the source" when watching a show online - which, since I don't own a TV, haven't since 2007, is almost every time I watch TV. I've long preferred fancast.com to Hulu anyway, since I think they offer more programs and I like their format. But going directly to the network for my shows may mean more legwork/clicking for me, something that is totally worth it in my mind if my single viewing helps the network to see how many people are watching online. Anything I can do to encourage them to keep providing more and more of their content to us non-TV-owners, the better. This is the future of TV!

    I just hope that even if sites like Hulu and Fancast start a subscription service, that the networks will still offer their stuff for free. I don't have TV for a reason: I can't afford to pay for monthly cable.

    March 6, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. pat

    It was never realistic to expect to get great content for free for long. As soon as we got a taste of what it was like to watch what we wanted any time that we wanted, the "free introductory period" was over and now, the pay as you go period will commence.

    We will either watch commercials, as long as we buy the stuff that they advertise and they associate our uptick in demand with the commercial...a specious premise at best.....or we will pay for view.

    Every who creates content gets paid, the guys who built the servers get paid, the guys who distribute this stuff to servers get paid and some how the money has to be generated to pay them.

    I enjoy getting my content for the price of my time to watch a commercial, but i fully anticipate that there will come a day that I will have to pay directly for whatever it is that I want to watch. In the meantime, it really doesn't matter to me who distributes the content. As long as the bandwidth is sufficient to watch the show, I will view it wherever they distribute it.

    March 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Baxter

    @ Ed... Kind of like conservatives who get almost all their news from FoxNews? I'm one of those young people that you speak of, and I'd put my brain in a head to head match-up with you any day. I'm not even trying to be "mildly humerous" here either.

    March 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Elaine Connelly

    As far as I'm concerned, it's no big deal. People spend way too much time watching Hulu.
    John Stewart is a classless fool. His sense of humor is too immature to be entertaining. I would imaging that most of his fans live on either coast.
    I think Stephen Colbert is way funnier than John Stewart.
    John Stewart is the 3 Stooges, Stephen Colbert is satire that does not stoop to the low level that John Stewart stoops to.
    I leave the room if my husband turns the tv to John Stewart, because I cannot, absolutely cannot stand the man.

    March 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brian

    Colbert is a god. USA! USA! USA!

    March 5, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Hulabalu

    I think HULU is the best online TV service.

    They have great retro TV shows now, they have been adding documentaries, they have software you can download that will play like Frontrow, its an amazing company with great UI.

    I watch HULU AND I prefer going to Stewart's and Cobert's website to watch full episodes. This is all a non-issue. Just give me good programming and smooth kickbutt UI with apps.

    Since much of TV is pablum, just give me more great retro shows, rare movies and heck, how about classic concerts, rare music footage and every classic music video. Thats all i care about.

    March 5, 2010 at 1:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bubba

    Ed, actually Stewart, not Stuart, is pretty factual, and liberalism isn't nonsense. You kinda make yourself look dumb with all this misinformation.

    March 4, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. rhobere

    Hulu isn't going to last much longer at all especially if they start charging. Although they have a decent video player, their resolution isn't so much better that I wouldn't rather go somewhere else. Hulu started delaying the release of It's Always Sunny and I started watching somewhere else. They started delaying The Office, I started watching somewhere else. Me, like everyone else, will not be hurt at all because we can just watch somewhere else. Free content will come and go and the vast majority will follow the free, not the website.

    March 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. joe dokes

    I am amused at those who feel the need to trash Stewart and/or Colbert. Both men are very well informed and they attack any politician–Repub or Dem–who is an idiot. Had detractors really watched their shows for any length of time, they'd know that.

    March 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. robert

    On line television is the wave of the future, the tv manufacturers are make web ready tvs. I'm just not sure when or if HULU and the like will start charging. It will probably be when everyone has quit cable/sat.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Travis

    Hulu was the pioneer of what they did. They had a business model and they did it. Now that is has shown to be a huge success, the networks will come up with their own and keep their proprietary data. It's not like this was unexpected. Big business has worked like this for decades. Profit from the ideas of someone else.

    I just wish HBO and Showtime would finally start streaming for a fee. Cable, satellite, etc. are all a waste of money. I want to be able to choose my own channels and pay only for them instead of paying a lot of money for 500 channels when I only watch 20 of them.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carmen

    As a busy mom, I don't have to to watch t.v. until after everyone is in bed. I love that Hulu tracks my favorite shows and sends me email reminders when a new episode has been added. I have seen nothing to indicate that they plan to charge the users for this service. I used to go to the different network sites but they were so uneven in quality and it was time consuming to keep track of. Now, if it isn't on hulu, I don't watch it.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Str8 Outta Tx

    comedy central's best investments to date have been South Park and Chappelle's Show. my favorites.

    March 4, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  17. Cliff47

    What is this HULU, of which you speak...and is drawing so little attention?

    March 4, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  18. Vi

    I love Hulu for the older shows like Lost in Space and The Avengers. Never has been and never will be another team like Steed and Mrs. Peel.

    March 4, 2010 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  19. Kevin Cassidy

    kudos to bill

    March 4, 2010 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
  20. Brandon

    My biggest frustration with the network website and Hulu is that they don't allow streaming for most of their content overseas. As a US servicemember stationed out of the country, I already can't watch the shows I like at their regular times. Now I can't even watch them after-the-fact without "stealing" them, waiting for them to come on AFN (6-12months later... for example, the current season of Heroes premieres tonight on AFN), buying the episodes on iTunes, or waiting for the box set to come out.

    March 4, 2010 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  21. karl

    as a non-tv owner by economy, not necessarily by choice, i guess i'll just go back to watching it on pirate sites–without paying anyone.

    screw you guys, i'm going home.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  22. Jay

    Hulu truly is a superior viewer compared to comedy centrals shoddy video server. I almost gave up on viewing these shows until Hulu came along. Ugh. Here's my middle finger, Viacom. Eat it.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  23. narrator

    I first went to Hulu because I thought they might have some nice movies, not so. I mostly go their to watch something comedic and about 30 minutes long.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  24. jlw

    Many people here seem to be under the misconception the hulu is free. When in fact it probably cost as much as comedy central. I pay the same company for my internet as I do cable. If I watched this show on cable I would still have to sit though commercials as I do on hulu. Only difference is with hulu i can watch when I want.

    Making us all pay for hulu though subscription fees makes about as much sense as charging cable costumers extra to watch fox and nbc run stations. It will never work and lead to more pirating.

    March 4, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  25. mikey

    @bill right on bill you the cat.

    March 4, 2010 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  26. xj7 dave

    Isn't it only a mater of time before HULU starts providing their own online content. These networks can be part of the future or part of the past. This move by Comedy Central puts in the the latter.

    HULU is great and it is liberating to watch what you want when you want. This is the future of media entertainment. Goin the movement or slip away into history.

    March 4, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  27. Aubrey

    Can't we all just get along.

    No!

    We are greedy life sucking bone bags whose $200 million a year is not enough. The hell with the 10% who have all the wealth, the 90% could be incharge but are to stupified by the "party line" to do anything about it. When a single person makes more than 1/3 of a major city combined (the mid-lower class) income and pays nothing in taxes, this is a real problem.

    When free was only paid for by blood, sweat, and tears; this country was great. Now we are just in great debt.

    We bitch about so much, and yet we can spend almost a billion dollars to see a computer generated cartoon movie, and in 2 hours not remember why we should even be upset.

    "Just another brick in the wall", of crap in our need for entertainment, not enlightenment. Weird to see after serving for this right to bitch.

    March 4, 2010 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  28. Benn

    hulu already announced they intend on charging members – dang hulu – i offered you the solutions months ago and you ignored me – have fun going down the drain

    March 4, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  29. Jeremy

    I only use Hulu for Family Guy. The big Comedy Central shows (Daily Show, Colbert Report, South Park) are on their official websites. Why would they let a third-party website (Hulu) make money off of THEIR content?

    And at least for the two fake journalists (who still are more professional and accurate than Fox News), it's okay to have free streaming videos, because they only show each episode three times. It's fun to go back to Daily Show episodes from the '90s. You know, BEFORE Bush was selected.

    Anyway, this is a non-story. Tell me when broadcast networks start making good shows.

    March 4, 2010 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  30. Dominic

    What! This is terrible news. The Hulu Desktop program is the best thing invented since the MacBook. I am in college as are most online television viewers are and I simply don't have the free range of time to watch my favorite shows (including TDS and Colbert) when they are scheduled for airing. This is certainly not going to make me tune into Comedy Central to watch The Daily Show and Colbert.
    This is a lose-lose situation for Viacom and Hulu (which is practically owned by the three other media conglomerates) because TDS and Colbert must have been some of the most viewed programs on Hulu and now no on is going to watch them anymore. So first NBC and Conan, and now Viacom and Hulu. I think the television industry got jealous of the bailout the banking industry got, so now they are trying to make terrible decisions just like the banks did.
    If it is a financial issue, I just want Viacom to know that I really don't care about the commercials on Hulu because as a viewer I know they are worth it, you can add one more if you'd like. But I honestly think its a dignity issue for Viacom, because out of all their terrible channels that probably a handful of people watch, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are the only good programs aired. Viacom doesn't want reality to strike them that they needed Hulu(their three main competitors) to keep their two best shows afloat.
    Now, if you haven't already downloaded Hulu desktop please do so, it is the most convenient program out there, you don't have to open your browser to watch tv from the hulu website. Also, if you don't have a remote for your laptop, buy one asap, because Hulu is remote friendly making it just like watching tv. Buying my remote was the best $20 investment of my life, I don't fiddle with the keyboard late at night just to change shows or adjust the volume. I just lay back with my laptop whenever I feel like it and watch whatever show I want to watch, because todays society doesn't have time to adjust their schedules to that of their favorite shows. The television industry is going to be moving completely online over the next few years, it is just more convenient and efficient.
    Btw CNN, please discuss how ridiculous NBC's new show The Marriage Ref is.

    March 4, 2010 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  31. Noah

    Dear CNN, as I read this article, the question that came quickly to my mind was: why? Why is Comedy Central discontinuing their shows from Hulu? But you neglected to answer that question, and it's a bit disappointing.

    I can see that many readers have offered their own answers to my question, but I was hoping for a little more from a respected media outlet such as yourself.

    Please do a little more research and actual reporting the next time you decide to write an article. It's just the right thing to do. It seems in your haste to report this newsworthy event, you neglected to actually do your homework, and now you've posted an incomplete story.

    I expect more from you, and look forward to the day when you return to more dedicated practices.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Ed

    Stuart isn't funny. He simply spouts liberal nonsense while making faces. Unfortunately, most young people watching his program no longer have the ability to think and so this becomes their sole source for news. Colbert is mildly humerous, but is too insignificant to matter. No big loss.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  33. Dan

    FAIL.

    I wish there were a way for consumers to express their voice about this. Hulu's system is so much better, bandwith always there, and it just works. By contrast, almost every major network's own site uses a different player that sometimes doesn't work well, their viewing options are limited, and their bandwith is terrible. I would take Hulu over any of those any day(provided I don't have to pay a fee and can just watch ads the way they are set up now). *sigh* once again the consumer loses.
    The only way for us to win would be to NOT go to the network's site if the show isn't on Hulu...but that's like telling a child not to play with his/her toy. I hate that Hulu is slowly being eroded. Then again, I don't know how much they charge their advertisers...maybe they should lower the pricepoint?

    March 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  34. jdc

    Everything is FREE!!*

    *Whiles supplies last.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Omo

    Arrgh, Comedy Central's player sucks, it hangs all the time for me.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Lanjha

    WTF is hulu.com? I watch the shows at thedailyshow.com , tonightshow.com, http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/ etc

    March 3, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
  37. 14th Stret

    I meant Comedy Central's part. Not HULU

    March 3, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  38. 14th Stret

    Both these shows are the reason I started on HULU. It's pretty ridiculous on HULU's part.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  39. SHAQ

    Go to fancast.com...better streaming than HULU...they still have these show there.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  40. tom

    there arealot of free sites to watch shows at with no comercials. i wont name them couse i dont want them shut down... my point being i woulda watched these at hulu and put up with the comercails. now ill just watch them on a non comercial player.

    March 3, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Kathy Cuevas

    Web Therapy with Lisa Kudrow is much funnier than both shows put together, anyway...(ooops...please don't mess it up, Hulu...)

    March 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Hilary

    Well, that's inconvenient. I like being able to watch most of the shows I enjoy on a single website (also, Comedy Central's player sucks), but since Conan is gone and everyone else has gotten stale I suppose I have no alternative. Those two really do need to cut down on the genitalia related jokes though, it's getting old fast.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Mathew Ballard

    I can tell you right now. That I will be getting the episodes I miss through other means then through their respective websites. This is just because of greed on Viacom's part. It is stupid for them not to support Hulu with their shows.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Kelly

    I find it amusing that so many of you are whining about how you refuse to pay to watch Hulu.com, considering that there has been no mention that Hulu will be charging for its service. Perhaps it will in the future, but all of you brainiacs are talking like it's a done deal. In this instance, it appears to be the execs are Comedy Central who are the bad guys (and the entire cable tv industry along with them), not the poor schlubs at Hulu. Direction your righteous indignation at the proper folks.

    March 3, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  45. luminaflex

    Hulu will be hurting w/o Stewart and Colbert. Their movie selection is, well, something you would get from a business for FREE. It's all downhill. These companies do not know what to do with cyberspace, and they've been in a panic for years. They're trying to create a fanbase, but once the consumer has a taste of freedom, there's no going back. I watch Hulu when I get home from work and eat. I watch Stewart, Colbert, and SNL. I don't like commercials, and I have no cable at home (and I'm a freggin SAT installer!) Cable really isn't worth paying for. Read a good book, spend time with family and friends, build a model train, and definitely go see a well made movie of whatever genre. The web is so big, In about 30 min I can find just about whatever I want to watch anyway. Hulu was just convenient in this case.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  46. ApprxAm

    Soon, the NFL will charge a fee per game (they'll get it)

    Ice Figure skating and Grey's Anatomy (they'll get it)

    And the logic next step in the evolutionary path of entertainment: They'll charge for commercial; I'm truly afraid they'll get that, too.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Captbeefheart

    I don't watch The Daily Show or Colbert on TV; I don't watch them on Hulu. In other words, from my perspective, who cares? I watch movies and comedy on Hulu – it's better than DVR.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  48. John from Raleigh

    I agree with Bret, I don't mind the Hulu commercials at all. I am willing to give 45-90 seconds of my time in exchange for content. And since the commerials are so short and they repeat the same ones over and over I get the message more directly.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  49. The Goat

    That's kinda too bad. The only reason I like to use Hulu to watch TDS is that it's such a better video viewer. Oh well, back to TDS's website I go.

    March 3, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Unicornball Bill

    Hulu is the future. Viacom should be increasing their Hulu content, not pulling its most popular shows. If money is a problem, Hulu should show a few more advertisements.

    March 3, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  51. joe bones

    stewart and colbert rule, but hulu sucks

    March 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Bret

    Hulu could be free to the user forever if they implemented one simple rule, more commercials. They show about 45 seconds to at the most 90 seconds of advertising for a show like The Daily Show while on television Comedy Central will show roughly 6 minutes of advertising.

    Whoever owns Hulu, and all the other major media outlets for this matter, have always had a poor understanding of why people choose to watch things on the Internet(through legal and illegal means). Free is not the only reason. People want access; they want to watch things that might be only television channels not included in their cable packages, or may be regionally exclusive like BBC programming, and more importantly they want to watch programs when they want to.

    I could watch The Daily Show every night on television, but there are other things I'd prefer to watch at 11pm, or at 7pm. Instead I prefer to watch The Daily Show at noon, 3:15pm, 6am, or whenever I want to. The appeal is much more than free or less commercials, it's about being in control of when you consume your desired content.

    They act as if they have decided everyone must eat dinner at 5pm everyday and that when people complain it must have to do with the cooking.

    March 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Will 18E

    Too bad, for the programs stream terribly through their own websites.
    Hulu, has better streaming of these shows.

    March 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Gregory

    Ninjavideo.net, every episode of every show.

    March 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Bruce in DC

    I dumped cable, and went to the very cheapest basic cable. No more MTV, no HBO none of this garbabe.

    What do you know, my kids played a 'board game' with me... OMG, I couldn't believe it... we actually sat down together.

    Who needs HULU content, or the networks, or any of this media junk. The only thing worthwhile is the news and the weather...

    March 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  56. John S

    Once something Free get's popular it will not be free for long. Mostly because it requires a lot of bandwidth to stream media content. Advertising is down and I am sure Viacom wanted Hulu to start up a pay subscription service. I still cannot understand how Hulu ever thought they could remain free??

    March 3, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Wayne Messer

    I stopped watching "The Daily Show" and "Colbert" No not because I dislike them I gave up Satellite and never considered cable.

    I like Hulu but when they try and start charging then, I'll look else where or start reading more.

    They poor mouth all the time the just like "FREE TV" the advertiser's pay for us to watch their crap, ah no commercials, nope I was right crap.

    Just like when HBO was part of the cable bill and the blood suckers need to milk customers more so you're paying for the "so called basic cable" then you want entertainment that will caused you more.

    Until customers wake-up and realize we can control networks by stop watching them until they work with us.

    It's like heath care claiming they aren't making enough. I guess billions aren't enough they need trillions.

    Luckily, we have politicians watching out for us telling us we do not need health care because they are paying us to keep everyone arguing until nothing get's done.

    They've only been doing this since politicians started asking for your vote.

    Go "SPECIAL INTEREST"

    March 3, 2010 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  58. kashab

    Nothing in the 'free' market(place) lasts for long.

    March 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Carl

    Maybe I am just growing out of Colbert/Stewart, but I will probably just watch something else on Hulu. I only watch those shows when nothing else is on. They are funny, but it seems like a waste of so many "real" guests. I'll watch Charlie Rose for real interviews, and get comedy from real comedy shows.

    Hulu has the best video player of any of the websites, less clutter on the screen, and I get a single source for notifications about new episodes from multiple networks.

    March 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Brett

    Well said, Bill.

    March 3, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  61. Jon

    Exactly right, Bill. Now that Hulu will probably be charging, why *wouldn't* the content owner want to charge for advertising and get more eyeball revenue for themselves since the customer won't have to pay an entry fee? If Hulu starts charging, we'll see more of this type of story.

    March 3, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  62. mdc

    Good riddance!

    March 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Bill

    First... blah blah blah.
    Second... blah blah blah
    Third... We seem to be having trouble making money as our advertisers, citing the rapidly diminishing available content on HULU, are bolting to the content owner's site (Viacom, NBC, etc), as the latter now realize that for relatively little investment (servers, bandwidth) they can significantly increase advertising revenue by streaming the shows they own and offering their advertisers, many of whom are already in contracts with them, a substantially lower fee-based model than HULU can.

    March 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |

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