Viacom Shows Take Jabs at Cable Operators


If Viacom is concerned about its upcoming carriage talks with Time Warner Cable, some of the shows on Comedy Central haven’t gotten the message. This week, episodes of TheDaily Show and South Park out-and-out insulted cable and the people who run it.On TheDaily Show Tuesday, Jon Stewart and John Oliver were discussing how dysfunctional Congress was with the government shutting down, when Oliver compared Washington to a particular cable operators.

Oliver noted that congressmen have a 90% re-election rate while Congress has a 10% approval rating. “The only previous instance of that level of disapproval combined with that level of market retention is Time Warner Cable. That’s the only on-record instance,” Oliver said.

“You’re saying that Congress is the Time Warner Cable of democracy,” Steward responded.

“I know it’s incredibly harsh, but it’s also incredibly fair,” Oliver said.

That was followed on Wednesday by South Park’s depiction of a man introduced as the president of your local cable company who announced, “your local cable company had decided to drop all networks that sexualize spousal homicides from regular programming.”

At a time when operators’ tolerance for buying programming that combine popular channels with some that are barely watched, the animated executive explained how the cable industry works.

“Those still wishing to view true-crime networks will now need to purchase a separate package, which will require a technician to service your cable box every night from 2 to 3 a.m. and must include the purchase of 300 channels of Portuguese,” he said while fondling his own nipples. “We realize it may be an inconvenience to you, and we hope you will voice all your concerns to us because at your local cable company, the customer is always our bitch.”

But as CBS’ negotiations with Time Warner Cable showed, the cable operators are often the programmers’ “bitch,” which means freedom of speech for Stewart and company for the foreseeable future.