Comedy Central’s new Chris Hardwick-hosted late-night comedy competition strip, @midnight, opened last night with bigger numbers than its The Colbert Report lead-in among the network’s target young male viewers — also appearing to beat broadcasters among males 18-24 and 18-34. @midnight, produced by Funny or Die, scored a substantially smaller overall crowd (549,992 viewers) than did its lead-in The Colbert Report, which itself clocked a smaller crowd than usual (999,833 viewers) — which is no surprise given that it was the show’s first night back after a dark week. But, @midnight came in on par with Colbert among 18-49 year-olds (260,876 and 260,668, respectively). And, among 18-34 guys (153,538), and 18-24 guys (67,943), @m outstripped Colbert (131,442 and 45,871, respectively). Comedy Central also noted its new show beat the October-to-date averages of NBC’s Jay Leno, ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel and CBS’s David Letterman in the new show’s half-hour slot, among both 18-24 and 18-34 guys (competitive broadcast stats for last night will be available later today).
Comedy Central noted very strong sentiment on Twitter and that @midnight was the No. 1 entertainment show on cable last night as measured by SocialGuide’s new Late Fringe category (11p-2a) and No. 2 overall, following ESPN2’s SportsCenter. Next week, Hardwick will face new competition from Pete Holmes, whose Conan-companion strip premieres on TBS for what was originally a four-week order that got upped to seven weeks. In his Monday premiere, Holmes will visit — Comedy Central’s late night star, Jon Stewart.