Servers streaming video from Saturday night's debate between cable television heavyweights Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly crashed due to overwhelming demand, the pundits' political ideologies notwithstanding.
The 90-minute debate was a departure from the usual modus operandi between the "Daily Show" host and Fox News star, who have often appeared on each other?s shows in mini-debates on cable television .
This time, ?O'Reilly v Stewart 2012: The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium" was streamed live on the Internet for $4.95, with on-demand and downloadable video now available online for the same price.
"We understand many viewers had difficulty streaming the debate when it began. These issues have been resolved and the show is now available both on-demand and via download. For anyone who was unable to view The Rumble live and no longer wishes to do so, refund information will be available early next week," reads The Rumble 2012 website.
Stewart and O?Reilly are donating half of the net profits from the event to various charities, including New York Collaborates for Autism, Wounded Warrior Project and more than a dozen others.
The charitable pay-per-view distribution model has been tried successfully by other entertainers, including comedian Louis C.K. , who sold his Beacon Theater special online for $5 a pop, generating more than $1 million in sales, much of which he gave away.
A sold-out crowd of 1,500 people watched the lively and humorous debate between O?Reilly and Stewart in person at the Lisner Auditorium on the Washington, D.C., campus of George Washington University. They discussed topics including the economy, Middle East, and entitlement reform.
O'Reilly refuted the idea that President Obama isn?t responsible for the country?s debt crisis and held up a visual aid that said ?Bush is gone ? Adios Sayonara Aloha ? It?s boring!? He also said 20 percent of the U.S. is made up of "slackers."
The 5-foot-7 Stewart, for his part, used a mechanized platform built into the stage below him to raise himself to stand eye-to-eye with the 6-foot-4 O'Reilly.