Planned Network Not a Joke


Several former cable and pay-per-view executives hope operators find the
humor -- and value -- in a new 24-hour network based on jokes.

Jokevision -- specifically aimed at 18- through 34-year-old men within a
broader base of adults 25 through 54 -- plans to air exclusive programming that
features ordinary people from around the country telling their favorite gags
within short and nontraditional vignettes, specials and series, network
executives Stephen Cunningham and Jeff Rowland said.

Jokevision hopes to capitalize on the reality-based programming trend by
showcasing talented, undiscovered comedians, as well as ordinary people who have
a flair for comedy and joke-telling.

While the privately financed network -- created by broadcasting entrepreneur
and industrialist Michael Vlock -- doesn't have a planned launch date or
distribution deals, Cunningham said the network's premise is no joke, and it
would stand out in a increasingly crowed digital cable environment.

Cunningham -- who was instrumental in launching cable services ValueVision
(now ShopNBC) and Food Network -- said Jokevision could be offered free to
operators for a certain amount of time, although he added that it's too early to
determine the network's ultimate rate card.

Rowland -- who, in the 1990s, produced several PPV-music events, including
Woodstock '99 -- pointed to the popularity of reality-based shows, the
sitcom genre and the success of Comedy Central as evidence for why Jokevision
will gain distribution.