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Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow Test Monday Media Model to Boost Talk TV

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Brian Steinberg Senior TV Editor Can Mondays do for the TV business what Thursdays and Sundays once did? Some of the medium’s best-known personalities are trying to figure this question out.

When Jon Stewart re-emerges Monday night as a one-night-a-week host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” he will join MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Jen Psaki in making bespoke Monday appearances for their network, part of what has become a low-key scheduling experiment that actually has high stakes: In a medium best known for offering viewers the same hosts in the same time slots five nights a week, can TV networks that thrive on news-and-talk programs generate new attention and advertising dollars by doling them out less frequently ? “Monday is really appealing,” says Stephanie Morales, vice president of media intelligence at Magna, the Interpublic Group media-research firm.

It tends to be the second-most-watched day of the week on linear TV, behind Sundays, she says. And viewers of talk and news programs tend to come in with headier expectations, she adds, because they anticipate the host tacking a stack of events that took place over the weekend.

Mondays can be a great place to have a top newsmaker or celebrity guest, says Morales, because of the more intense viewership.

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