If you’re like me, you missed late-night shows during the U.S. writers and actors strikes. And though you moved on to other things during the summer, you were looking forward to seeing topical comedy again when they came back.
You might have tuned to CTV at 12:05am and seen another Big Bang Theory rerun and wondered how long it would be until The Daily Show resumed production. And then you might have been confused when you learned they had been producing new episodes for weeks.
Unfortunately, you won’t be seeing The Daily Show again on CTV, or CTV Comedy, any time soon. Bell Media has dropped the show.
When I asked about it, this is the entirety of the response I received from Bell:
I can confirm that Bell Media is no longer carrying THE DAILY SHOW.
I didn’t get a reply to follow-up questions, including the obvious “why?”
A convenient hole-filler
The existence of The Daily Show on CTV, and its popularity among Canadians, probably has as much to do with a scheduling quirk as anything else.
For decades, CTV’s schedule in most markets consists of prime-time programming mainly imported from the U.S. between 8 and 11pm, followed by CTV National News until 11:30 and then late local news until 12:05am. Because the CRTC set Canadian content rules defining prime time as 6pm-12am, the schedule made sense from a regulatory perspective. The more Canadian content (including news) you put in 6-8pm and 11pm-12am, the more U.S. imports you can put in 8-11pm.
After midnight, the rules are different and U.S. imports can come back in. But the two big late-night shows, NBC’s The Tonight Show and CBS’s The Late Show, both start at 11:35pm. ABCs Jimmy Kimmel Live started at midnight but now it too has moved to 11:35.
As a half-hour show, The Daily Show could fill a gap between the 12:05am end of the local news and the 12:35am start of the late-late shows. And during the post-9/11 Jon Stewart era, it gained popularity in both countries.
Now, for whatever reason, Bell has decided it no longer makes sense. Not because schedules have changed, but probably because of money.
The Daily Show isn’t what it was under Stewart. Besides Stewart himself, top talent have moved on to other shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert or Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Since Trevor Noah’s departure a year ago, it has had a parade of fill-in hosts.
Meanwhile, The Big Bang Theory is cheap and reruns are very popular in Canada. So for now, at least, CTV is going in that direction.
The Daily Show wasn’t part of CTV’s fall schedule announcement in the summer, which means the decision not to keep it probably dates to at least then.
Where can I watch it?
So if CTV no longer has the rights to the Daily Show, where can Canadians watch it?
The short answer is you can’t. At least not yet. It’s not on a competing network, it’s not on Netflix or Amazon. Your only option to watch it legally is to buy individual episodes on Apple TV.
UPDATE: Thanks to Chris for pointing this out — Paramount+ Canada is adding The Daily Show starting Dec. 5. Comedy Central is owned by Paramount.
There wasn’t another obvious home for The Daily Show on regular Canadian TV. Global has The Late Show, Citytv has Jimmy Kimmel, and there isn’t really another non-Bell-owned comedy channel it would be a good fit for.
Fans of Seth Meyers may have noticed there aren’t as many clips of his late night show on YouTube as there used to be. Unfortunately the clips are there, they just are being blocked in Canada, along with those of the Tonight Show. Both are Bell-licensed NBC shows. It’s unclear if this is at Bell’s request, to protect its rights, or if it’s NBC’s doing, cutting off non-U.S. countries. The Daily Show has the same problem, with just a handful of YouTube clips not being restricted here.
My questions to Bell on this subject did not elicit a response.
Fortunately, Seth Meyers clips are being posted to Facebook and those are still accessible here, and Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show is posting clips (mostly vertical, cuz the youths) to social media as well.