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Ratings Laugher for Comedy Central

Forgive Comedy Central executives for smiling last week over the ratings performances of a quartet of shows.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart posted its second-strongest week ever, averaging a 1.4 household rating, a 1.0 against adults 18-49 and 1.6 million viewers for the premieres of its 11 p.m. episodes Oct. 17-20, according to Nielsen Media Research data. Those numbers trailed only the marks the show posted during its 2004 Election Week coverage, according to network executives.

In the trailing half-hour, The Daily Show spinoff The Colbert Report came out of the chute with a 1.1 average, a 0.7 against the aforementioned demo and 1.2 million viewers overall during its debut week.

Comedy executives noted that Colbert recorded a 67% jump among 18-49s compared with the prior four-week period and a 177% advance versus the year-earlier time slot. Among total viewers, the show’s increased 76% versus the prior week and 197% against the year-ago time-period averages.

Meanwhile, the premiere installment of the second half of franchise South Park’s ninth season weighed in with a 2.0 household rating, a 1.6 in adults 18-49 and 2.5 million total viewers at 10 p.m.

South Park’s lead-out -- the second-season debut of animated series Drawn Together -- notched a 1.9 household rating, a 1.3 among adults 18-49 and 2.3 million total viewers. Comedy executives said Drawn’s sophomore-season launch trailed only the second-season debut performances of South Park and Chappelle’s Show relative to the network’s original-series Nielsen Media Research pantheon.