Comedy Tackles Late-Night; Spike Renews Fighter


Viacom Inc.-owned Comedy Central will look to procure young late-night viewers with three new shows set to debut later this year, the network said at MTV Networks' annual upfront presentation here Tuesday.

Also announced at the multi-network extravaganza here was a two-year “strategic” partnership between Spike TV and combat sports outfit Ultimate Fighting Championship which includes the return of Spike’s popular reality series The Ultimate Fighter.

Comedy Central hopes to boost its late-night presence beyond the The Daily Show With Jon Stewart with its new lineup of comedy programming, according to network president Doug Herzog. The new shows include Weekends at the DL, a late-night talk and entertainment skein featuring comedian DL Hughley that will air on Friday, Saturday and Sundays at 11 p.m. beginning in July; The Colbert Report, an offshoot of The Daily Show starring Daily Show correspondent Stephen Colbert; and a not-yet-titled show focusing on the events of the day and pop culture staring Adam Carolla (The Man Show).

“Many of our viewers don’t even get home until 11:00 p.m., making late night their own version of primetime,” Herzog said in a statement. “Jon and The Daily Show bring them to Comedy Central each night and we feel that Stephen, Adam and DL will give them a reason to stay with the channel late into the night as they wind down with some of the most talented comedians working today.”

Coming off a successful freshman run, Spike TV is renewing its The Ultimate Fighter series for another two years, according to network officials. The series, which ran Mondays at 11 p.m., averaged a 1.7 household rating, according to the network.

Along with the series, Spike will air six live UFC events over the next two years, as well as 26 one-hour episodes of an as yet titled series featuring classic footage of UFC events.

The network also announced has teamed with actor Samuel L. Jackson to create a new animated series Afro Samurai to debut in 2006.