Comedy Central’s Stewart Overtakes Letterman, Leno

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart has overtaken David Letterman and Jay Leno as the king of late-night U.S. television, at least for a month, the cable network said.

“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” in October averaged 1.3 million viewers ages 18 to 49, a group advertisers target, topping NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” and CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman,” the Viacom Inc.-owned cable channel said today in an e-mailed statement.

The ratings boost came as Stewart and “Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert hosted the “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” on Oct. 30 in Washington. The duo attracted more than 250,000 to the three-hour event, while 2.4 million watched on television, Comedy Central said. This is the first late-night victory since 2000 for a program other than “The Tonight Show” or “Late Show,” Comedy Central said.

Viacom, also owner of the MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon cable networks, rose 23 cents to $38.99 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Class B shares of the New York-based company have gained 31 percent this year.

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