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Surprise! Stewart and Colbert have come to Hulu

Comedy Central's wildly popular political talk shows are now available on the NBC-News Corp. joint video venture, but it doesn't appear to be a broader Viacom deal yet.

Yaaaay! Stephen Colbert on Hulu! Comedy Central

This post was updated at 11:01 AM PT on Tuesday to clarify wording: television content from Viacom is almost exclusively handled by MTV Networks.

In an unexpected move, video site Hulu will be getting some political loudmouths just in time for the 2008 presidential election: Comedy Central's late-night personalities Jon Stewart of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report.

We had to check and make sure the press release wasn't a joke, but there are indeed full episodes from both programs available. It comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering Comedy Central parent company Viacom has not officially signed on to Hulu, which launched as a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp. and does not yet have any other major networks on board.

But on the other hand, MTV Networks, the Viacom division that encompasses Comedy Central, has made some distribution deals, and both Stewart and Colbert were already available on the Web in one form or another. And Viacom had already made select content available to Hulu rival Joost, but now that the Joost hype has faded completely, experimenting with Hulu's ad-supported distribution seems logical. Making the popular Comedy Central talk shows available could be the media conglomerate's way of dipping a toe in the water.

Additionally, later in June Hulu will start to add select programs from PBS: Nova, Carrier, Scientific American Frontiers, Wired Science, and potentially others.

This bring's Hulu's count of programming content partners up to more than 70.