In the latest twist in Viacom's ongoing dispute with satellite provider DirecTV, the company has restored web access to The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, two of its most popular shows. Viacom pulled the shows offline last week in an attempt to stir up anger against DirecTV — but as All Things D notes, full episodes of both shows are once again available to watch, including a segment in which The Daily Show's Jon Stewart riffs on the feud.
Viacom pulled the plug on 26 DirecTV channels last week — including MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon — after contract negotiations between the two companies broke down, with Viacom reportedly demanding an extra $1 billion to renew the subscriptions. In a statement to All Things D, a Viacom spokesman notes that "we never said we were taking all our full length episodes down, just sliming [sic] down our offerings." He claims that the shows were "on hiatus," but that "we wanted to get them back on our sites as soon as we could."
Despite the restoration of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, many Viacom shows still remain offline, restricting access not only for DirecTV customers but for all internet users — the only episode of the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants currently available on the Nickelodeon site is six years old. It is not yet clear when or if Viacom plans to re-enable web access beyond its most popular properties.