According to the May Nielson ratings, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart beat the entire Fox News network in terms of total viewers. Stewart averaged 2.3 million viewers, while the Fox News prime time and day time line up averaged 1.85 million viewers.
According to Comedy Central, The Daily Show is dominant in its time slot,
"The Daily Show's" 1.344 million P18-49 viewers led all late night talk shows in the demo for the month and, with a 2011 YTD average of 1.25 million P18-49 viewers, "The Daily Show" trails only "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1.27 million P18-49 viewers) in the benchmark demographic for the calendar year crown.
While Stewart is on the rise, Fox News had a really, really bad May. Total viewership was down 10%, and Fox News lost viewers in the 25-54 demo in every prime time show. Bill O'Reilly was down 9%, Sean Hannity was down 6%, and Greta Van Susteren dropped 12%.
Just how big is the disparity between Jon Stewart and Fox News?
Only The O'Reilly Factor (2.8 million) drew more total viewers than The Daily Show (2.3 million). Jon Stewart beat everything else on Fox News. Stewart beat Sean Hannity by 246,000 viewers. He topped Bret Baier by 399,000 viewers. Jon Stewart beat Glenn Beck by almost 500,000 viewers, 1.812 million to 2.3 million. He beat Shep Smith (1.712 million) and Greta Van Susteren (1.702 million) by almost 600,000 viewers each. When Stewart and O'Reilly go head to head at 11 PM, Jon Stewart tops Bill O'Reilly's replay by almost a million viewers (2.3 million to 1.321 million).
This is why Fox News both hates and fears Jon Stewart. Not only is he more popular than they are, but he devotes much of his program to exposing the biased reporting of FNC. Even worse, Stewart is teaching his younger audience what Fox News is all about. Stewart doesn't exclusively take on Fox News. His problem is with television news in general, but since Fox is the biggest offender, they get most of his attention.
Jon Stewart is the biggest threat to Fox News' future out there. He is literally teaching his audience, which is bigger than FNC's, how to see through the partisan propaganda that Rupert Murdoch has based his network on. Stewart is educating an entire generation of viewers on how to watch cable news, or more specifically how not to watch Fox News.
Unless Fox News can figure out a way to attract younger viewers, they are facing a future where their audience will eventually, literally die off. A 2010 survey found that the average age of the Fox News viewer is 65 years old. Fox has the oldest audience on all of cable. (FNC's audience is older than The History Channel, The Hallmark Channel, and The Golf Channel).
Jon Stewart is on the non-prime time hour of 11 PM, yet he outdraws 2/3 of the Fox News prime time line up, and he has more viewers the entire FNC prime time and daytime lineups combined. Only Bill O'Reilly is preventing Stewart from being more popular than every single program on Fox News.
The proof is in the numbers, and the numbers don't lie. Jon Stewart is more popular than Fox News.