TV Ratings: John Oliver Makes Solid 'Daily Show' Debut

John Oliver Red Background - P 2012

John Oliver Red Background - P 2012

Anyone concerned that Jon Stewart's temporary departure from The Daily Show would be bad for business can take a breath. The Comedy Central series kicked off an eight-week stint with John Oliver pinch-hitting as host on Monday night, and the ratings were business as usual.

Monday's episode of The Daily Show, which featured guest Seth Rogen, averaged 1.5 million viewers and a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49. Not only are those numbers in line with the series' year-to-date performance, they mark a modest week-to-week improvement for the late-night flagship.

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Last Monday's Daily Show averaged 1.3 million viewers and a 0.6 rating in the key demo, and Stewart's last night at the desk (Thursday) averaged a 1.4 million and a 0.6 with adults 18-49.

The initial returns are contrary to what the self-effacing Oliver recently told The Hollywood Reporter. "The ratings are going to go down," he said. "Ice is cold, and the ratings of this show are going to go down in the summer. Add to that the fact that I’m here, so you’ll have your regular summer decline and that will become a more elemental nosedive."

Stewart's break, first announced in March, is his first from the series in the 14 years since he came on board as host. He'll be gone for 12 weeks during the summer, including eight weeks of new episodes, to direct the film adaptation of Maziar Bahari's New York Times best-selling memoir Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.

Oliver has been with The Daily Show since 2007.