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Jon Stewart's 'Restore Sanity' rally drew 2 million viewers to their TV sets

Comedy Central's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" on Saturday may have drawn 250,000 or more to the streets of Washington. But maybe pretty much everyone who wanted to see it actually went? Back home, it was no ratings landslide.

A total of 2 million viewers tuned in to the live event, which aired from 9 a.m. to noon Los Angeles time and was led by "The Daily Show" host Jon Stewart and his compatriot Stephen Colbert of "The Colbert Report." The rally scored a 1.0 rating among viewers aged 18 to 49, according to the Nielsen Co.

Those are strong numbers for a basic cable network during a midday Saturday before Halloween, to be sure. The network said viewership was up 362% compared with usual totals in the (typically very sleepy) weekend time slot.

Comedy Central said there were also more than half a million live streams online of the event.

On the other hand, college football games that air on Saturdays routinely draw several times those numbers. On weekday nights, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly -- one of the cable hosts Stewart seemed to attack in his remarks -- draws upward of 3 million viewers. (Complete ratings for Saturday will not be available until Tuesday).

A listings glitch might have depressed viewing too. Some cable subscribers reported trying to record the rally on DVRs and getting "Scrubs" reruns instead. Apparently, those customers had DVRs that did not adjust for the time difference given that the program aired live across the country. A Comedy Central spokesman said the network verified that it had in fact given the correct information to the listings services that supply information to cable operators.

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert at Saturday's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" (Olivier Douliery/MCT)


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Comments () | Archives (7)

They verified? Really? Because I'm a Time Warner Cable viewer in the San Diego area and my listings did not indicate that they were broadcasting live in the West. They still had the program starting at 1 pm.

Fortunately I was home and found it while channel surfing.

I was a victim of incorrect programming scheduled. I set it to record the rally when it was listed on the guide, assuming it must be happening at 3p ET. I was very disappointed to wake up to a bunch of Scrubs re-runs. I really wanted to see the Rally.

Inspired by the rally, I want to keep the ball roling. Please help by checking out The Movement to Restore Unity Facebook page I created. Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/twitter/#!/pages/The-Movement-to-Restore-Unity/169072223119070

On October 30, 2010, I witnessed a profound moment in the history of America. What may have started out as a joke turned into a pivotal moment in the healing of American divisions. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on Washington in support, not so much of a couple comedians, but in support of their country. They came determined to present the best part of us despite logistical and probably financial difficulties. They came to show the side of America that still has civility and a sense of humor. They came to reconnect with other Americans who want to see things "taken down a notch" and restored to the untied country we have been and can be again.

The experience was enjoyable, enlightening, inspiring, and most of all healing. The healing will spread. It must spread. Deep down it is what all Americans truly want; a strong, united country. Our country has faced many challenges; we have always prevailed and we will again. This is what makes our country great. The sense of greatness is so pervasive in the heart of Americans that we know no other way to be. Yes, we have fallen into a crevice of confusion, frustration, and division, but this problem is an opportunity to learn about ourselves and what we are capable of. Just as we united after September 11th, and the world united around, us we can come back even stronger than before.

I walked away from The Rally to Restore Sanity not wanting it to end. I walked away feeling better, feeling inspired, and most of all feeling empowered to keep the ball rolling. The unity I felt among my fellow Americans in our countries capitol is what we all need to feel, to heal, and to get our country back on track. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert got things started. I want to do my part to keep the ball rolling. Please help me with The Movement to Restore Unity, for unity will bring us back to sanity, after all we all know, united we stand, divided we fall.

you can watch it in it's entirety at cspan.org. Compare the crowd size to the largest rally, which held 4 Million people, the Vietnam War Moratorium Rally.


Kudos to John Stewart & Stephen Colbert. Americans need to wake up the fact that Glen Beck is simply another opinion pushing charlatan who is a product of mormon cult theology that he mixes with parts of Catholicism and his personal core as a dry alcoholic. Stewart and Colbert did a good job of exposing idiots like Beck, Palin, O Donell and their chicanery based tea bagging cousins who pervert truth and distort history as well as the US Constitution. Because Beck does not possess a single ounce of journalistic integrity, he is the perfect abortion poster child for Fox Network. Considering the fact that Becks personal views are extreme Marxist Libertarian, his form of patriotism is false and he is a person who has no real substance or depth. But then again…that is how most right wingers are as they usually cannot find anything filthier than their own personal reflection.

Not verified at all (I would be out of a job right now if I had done this verification and reported it as accurate). I live in L.A. and and according to my Time Warner Cable listing, the broadcast was to start at noon Pacific. To my horror I found myself watching Scrubs, even though the channel description listed the Jon Stewart march.

Try going back and actually reviewing the times the programs were broadcast versus what the local listings stated.

Hi Joe B - that wasn't comedy central that was TWC. They are idiots!


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