After more than a decade on the air, Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart has its own online home.
The new Web site, DailyShow.com (http://www.dailyshow.com), will go live at noon EST Thursday, presenting nearly the entire video archive of the show for the past nine years.
The site contains more than 16,000 video clips spanning headlines, correspondent pieces and such regular segments as Lewis Black's Back in Black or Stephen Colbert's This Week in God. For now, the archives start in early 1999, covering the Jon Stewart-era. The earlier version of the program, which started in 1996 with host Craig Kilborn, could be available by early 2008.
Uninterrupted episodes will not be available, though full shows can, for the most part, be pieced together from the clips.
Before this site, most of the clips from past years had vanished, said Erik Flannigan, executive vp digital media at MTV Networks, the Viacom Inc. unit that houses Comedy Central. The show's Web site had been housed in the larger Comedy Central site, and episodes also have been available on Apple's iTunes for paid download.
Flannigan also pointed out that Google's YouTube hosted many unlicensed clips, but that site only started in 2005 and is entangled in a $1 billion lawsuit with Viacom for that exact type of copyright infringement.
The new site will be the only place to see legal Daily Show clips online, though a spokesman said that a few selected clips could become available on sites through syndication deals. The show recently did this with Yahoo for correspondent Rob Riggle's reports from Iraq.
Although Flannigan said YouTube helped whet the appetite for users searching for smaller comedic videos, he also stressed that the official site would have come together even if YouTube hadn't existed. With the new site equipped with community features like message boards, it also can help shape discussion.
People should be reacting to 'The Daily Show' on its own site, Flannigan said. God bless them doing it everywhere else, but this should be the epicenter of it.
The site's home page will focus on the previous night's episode, from which clips will be posted by 8 a.m. EST the next morning, eventually being pushed up to 5 a.m. The destination also is equipped with a timeline that can locate archived clips by date and search tools, like other Viacom sites powered by Google.
Clips also will be tagged and broken into categories based on subject matter, correspondent or a celebrity name involved in the segment. All of these can be sorted separately as well.
Flannigan said that the site houses a super majority of all content from the show in the Stewart era. He said that some guests on the program didn't sign a release letting those segments onto the Web, but he declined to mention names.
Comedy Central vp digital media Paul Beddoe-Stephens said that the site has been a long-term goal ever since he started at the company in 1999. The group started to conceptualize the site in February and in June the team started the exhaustive process of encoding videos and building the vast destination.
We're not sure any show has put their entire history online before, Flannigan said.
Flannigan said Stewart and several executive producers and writers on the show saw the site last week and were absolutely ecstatic. He added that they were excited not just that they could see their work again but also to use the site as a research tool.
The Colbert Report and Comedy Central's library of stand-up performances also could get full-archived sites. Flannigan said those could come together in first-half 2008.
The site for The Sarah Silverman Program, launched this month, has a similar structure, albeit for that show's much shorter archive of nine episodes.