Comic Jon Stewart weighs in on DirecTV-Viacom feud
BY RITA SHERROW World Television Editor
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Comic Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," aimed a shot at Viacom, provider of channels like Comedy Central that were removed from DirecTV and pulled from the internet amid an on-going carriage fee dispute.
"Viacom, DirecTV, what are you doing here?" Stewart said on his first night back after a two weeks off. "You’ve got ad campaigns blaming people 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. None of this matters. None of this is indispensable."
As to the media giant's decision to not only remove 17 of its channels from DirecTV but also many of its TV videos from the internet, he asks: "What are you? China?"
Apparently, Viacom was unaware that there are other entertainments in the world, he added. Some more family-friendly than others, according to his monologue.
Viacom may have heard his message because full episodes and clips of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" have been restored to the internet but the company is insisting it had nothing to do with Stewart’s comments.
"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," said a statement Viacom issued Tuesday.
"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."The 26 Viacom networks include the HD versions of some of the same channels.
To counter the removal of the popular children’s channel Nickelodeon , DirecTV launched Disney Junior and several Mix channels with varied programming. Also added was free access to all eight Encore channels for subscribers through July 31.
The feud between the media company and the satellite provider, which launched at the end of June, continues with losses on both sides.
"Of course some customers have left us, but the numbers so far are very low," a DirecTV spokesperson told hollywoodreporter.com.
"The interesting thing is that, for the first time ever, we are seeing a huge number of our customers actually voicing support for us in our goal to keep programming costs as low as possible and telling us that they will stick with us until this is settled.
"Most of them understand that if they switch to another provider, they are likely to experience this situation again very soon - case in point TWC/Hearst and AMC/Dish who are currently in disputes with channels off the air."