Comedy Central Strategic Opportunities - April 2008



Comedy ranks among the top 10 cablers for the 18-34 demographic, and mainly with a mix of their original series, stand-up and sketch, not off-net acquisitions like most of the other cable networks.


Sketch, stand-up, reality.


Comedy over the past year or so has actively been buying movie packages from many of the big studio distributors and it doesn't look like they are slowing down anytime soon.


The network does not accept any unsolicited material.  You must be represented by an agent, attorney or production company.  There are two programming divisions that accept submissions both on the east coast and the west coast offices.  There is no e-mail submission process.


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Comedy Central has established a new business division aimed at buttressing its position in the world of performance.  Comedy Central Live Entertainment, is a new business unit concentrating on the live comedy industry encompassing stand-up tours, comedy events and performance DVD's/CD's.  In addition through strategic partnerships, its will increase Comedy's visibility on the festival circuit.  The network is looking to increase its efforts and maximize live performance exposure and revenue across already established business lines.

Comedy which like TBS keeps its entire focus on comedy, has two series in production for 2009: "Krod Mandoon & the Flaming Sword of Fire," a satire of fantasy adventures like "Lord of the Rings," and a sketch-comedy half-hour called "Important Things With Demetri Martin."   Like so many other cable networks in record numbers are launching their own comedies out of sheer necessity because there are so few comedies being scheduled by the broadcast networks. Since the late 1990s, reality shows have steadily displaced comedies on the broadcast side, and many broadcast comedy writers have shifted to cable.

Comedy Central and The New York Comedy Festival announced a multi-year partnership deal, giving the five-day comedy showcase a national television partner for its fifth iteration.  The festival will feature a variety of top-tier comedians including Frank Caliendo, Louis C.K., Craig Ferguson, Carlos Mencia, Joel McHale, B.J. Novak, Tracy Morgan, Brian Regan, Sarah Silverman and Katt Williams.  The multi-year national partnership will include producing an on-air special shot at the Festival which will premiere in early 2009, as well as digital media support and other content opportunities.

Comedy's strategy of having young male demographics as their primary audience has helped them for potential growth.  Comedy is on a roll and focusing on the future by securing top talent and development deals.  Projects in development run the gamut from short-form and sketch/variety to scripted narrative and animation starring a cross-section of top comedic talent. Sketch comedies and animation are on tap for Comedy as part of its new slate of original pilots.


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