New Comedy Central star outdraws Stewart, Colbert

Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:41am EDT

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Who's the most popular host on Comedy Central?

It's not Jon Stewart. And, no, it's not Stephen Colbert.

Daniel Tosh has surpassed both in the ratings to have the most-watched and top-rated studio-based show on the cable network. His series, "Tosh.0," hit another series high Wednesday -- the network's best performance in that time period since "Chappelle's Show" in 2004.

"Tosh.0"? Try "Tosh" 2.4 million viewers.

A bit like a "Talk Soup" for the Internet, "Tosh.0" chronicles all that's newsworthy, weird and lewd about the Internet, with Tosh introducing video clips and occasionally interviewing guests in his "Web Redemptions" segment.

Since the comedian's summer season premiered June 2, five of the show's six episodes have marked a new series high.

"It's a show that came in under the radar and it's a truly word-of-mouth kind of show," said Kent Alterman, head of original programing at Comedy Central. "He hasn't been written about that much. There's really just one factor that stands out -- the show is really funny."

"Tosh" is averaging 2.2 million viewers this season vs. 2 million for "The Daily Show" and 1.4 million for "Colbert Report." Overall, it is the third most-popular show on the network (behind "South Park" and "Futurama").

It remains to be seen if Tosh can maintain his current ratings momentum -- Stewart has been making "Daily Show" a critical and ratings success for 11 years. Also, it's worth noting "Tosh.0" is a primetime show (10:30 p.m.) while Stewart's "The Daily Show" and Colbert's "The Colbert Report" air in late night. Yet comparisons are compelling since Stewart and Colbert are such well known and iconic members of the network's family while Tosh's show just launched last summer.

In April, Comedy Central renewed "Tosh.0" for a third season, ordering 29 episodes set to debut next January. The network is also producing a stand-up tour for the comedian.