Viacom Pulling "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" From HuluS

Tragedy! The New York Times is reporting that Viacom is going to pull "The Daily Show," "The Colbert Report," and other Comedy Central properties off of Hulu next week. The reason, as always: money. The bigger question: who's next?

Apparently Viacom realized the importance of "The Daily Show" to Hulu—it's consistently one of the site's most popular programs and is clearly in sync with the Hulu demographc—and wanted outsized compensation, possibly including upfront payment.

You'll still be able to watch rebroadcasts of John Stewart and Stephen Colbert on TheDailyShow.com and ColbertNation.com. But the larger point seems to be that if you're not one of Hulu's major network stakeholders, sharing your content on the site may not be financially viable. That doesn't immediately impact many popular shows outside of Viacom's cadre, but if Hulu wants to be a big tent for online video, they're going to need the participation of third-party content providers. Of which there are plenty, including BBC America, WB, and a whole lot of niche content providers with passionate fan bases.

Maybe Hulu's inevitable pay model will be a solution that helps spread the wealth a little better. But if they lose many more shows by then, it may not even matter. [NY Times]