Comedy Web block on TV

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In an about-face from the trend of distributing branded TV programming to the Internet, Comedy Central is bringing original Web programming to late-night television viewers, the network said Monday.

Dubbed "Web Shows," the half-hour weekly series, which will air at 2 a.m. ET/PT and premiere Monday, will include a mix of animation, live-action narrative and comedy programming from Comedy Central's Web site, Motherload. The network has ordered six episodes.

The programming block will also feature the AtomFilms webisode "The Punk Group: Fat Girls on Bicycles," marking the first collaboration between the network and the short-film Web destination that Viacom's MTV Networks acquired in August.

"We are a branded content company with a lot of resources and amazing talent online, and to make life easy for all of our audience we're showing a cross-section of this content across platforms to get them excited," said Lou Wallach, senior vp original programming and development at Comedy Central.

Wallach described the show as made up of eight or nine 2- to 3-minute shorts. A "rooster" character will provide commentary and tie the content bits together.

While shows featured include the animated "Baxter & McGuire," the celebrity-mocking "Balloon Heads" and the satire "Golden Age," Scott Roesch, vp and general manager of AtomFilms, said that the content contributed by his company also fits the sensibility and style of the show.

"We have such a vast collection, and it's a matter of finding the right pieces for the right shows at the right time," said Roesch, adding that the relationship with MTVN will provide great new opportunities for independent creators.

This latest effort by Comedy Central marks a continuing push from its parent company Viacom to integrate its various properties and take its content across platforms.

Last week, Spike TV and GameTrailers.com combined forces to unveil the enhanced video game TV show "Game Head" under Viacom's newly formed MTVN Entertainment Group.

That cross-platform initiative follows others like "Lil' Bush," a political parody aired by the network but originally produced for cell phones through mobile entertainment company Amp'd Mobile.

Said Wallach, "This is a Comedy Central version of shortform TV, and it really does speak to our brand and our audience while translating into the expectations of late-night TV."
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