Jon Stewart Makes a Comeback on Television with a Smaller, Older Audience

The Death of Linear TV: Why the Daily Show’s Struggle Is Part of a Larger Trend in Viewership

In recent years, TV viewership has declined dramatically. When I last wrote about this issue a month ago, I pointed out that it’s not just “The Daily Show” that’s struggling but linear TV as a whole. Nielsen data shows that multiple generations have stopped paying for TV and are now spending their time on streaming services such as Netflix or social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Unfortunately, those who still watch TV are an aging and shrinking group. In 2015, the show attracted 103 million people a night, but that number has now decreased to 57 million. Additionally, the median age of TV viewers has jumped from 51 to 62. This trend is particularly evident among younger adult viewers.

Nielsen’s data also reveals a decline in average viewership across both prime-time and late-night TV since 2015, with the median age of TV’s remaining viewers continuing to rise. It’s clear that these trends are not going away anytime soon.

Despite this backdrop, it remains to be seen how Stewart and his fans will fare in the coming years. With so many people turning to streaming services and social media platforms for their entertainment needs, it’s not surprising to see these trends emerge. However, it’s still striking to see the data laid out so plainly.

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