Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow Are Luring Liberals Back to Cable TV

Liberal TV viewers have a new mantra: T.G.I.M.!

Monday nights have suddenly broken out in the Nielsen ratings — and in national relevance — thanks to a rare confluence: two TV superstars of the political left who have limited their regularly scheduled broadcasts to that one evening.

Jon Stewart, the “Daily Show” host and guiding light of Bush- and Obama-era Democrats who made a surprise comeback in February, now hosts his old show on Mondays at 11 p.m. Rachel Maddow, who stepped back from her nightly MSNBC duties in 2022, retained a dedicated hour every Monday at 9.

In a frazzled media age, their once-a-week programs have become something close to appointment viewing. Ms. Maddow’s Monday program is far and away the highest-rated hour of MSNBC’s entire week. Mr. Stewart’s “Daily Show” significantly outdraws the other weeknight editions of the show, and has proved to be a rare breakout hit for Comedy Central.

For Democrats anxious about a close election, Ms. Maddow and Mr. Stewart represent a particular kind of comfort: seasoned partisan warriors who have led viewers through past convulsions in the political arena.

“‘Tell me it’s going to be all right’ is the common refrain,” said Martin Kaplan, who runs the Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California, adding that Mr. Stewart’s monologues are now the first thing he hears about from friends on Tuesday mornings. “It’s, ‘Did you see? Did you hear? Did you watch?’”

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