Comedy Central Comes to Russia

MOSCOW – A fully-localized, 100 percent Russian-language version of Comedy Central will be launched in Russia as Paramount Comedy in April 2012, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The channel is to target the 18-34 age group, and among the shows slated to be aired in April are Charlie Sheen’s Comedy Central Roast, the series Raising Hope, the sitcoms Last Man Standing and Workaholics and the animated series South Park. Russian comedians, including Dmitry Romanov, are also expected to play a key role in the channel.

“We’re very excited to be launching Paramount Comedy in Russia this year,” Nick Walters, general manager of VIMN Russia, said in the statement. “As the channel develops, we’re also really looking forward to investing in building our original production slate and nurturing Russian comedy talent.”

As Viacom International Media Networks steps up its operations in Moscow, Mikhail Nepomnyashchy was appointed commercial director at VIMN Russia and Andrey Gromkovsky, who previously worked as executive director at Timur Bekmambetov’s production company Bazelevs, has been appointed head of Paramount Comedy Russia.

Meanwhile, the Russian business daily Kommersant reported that Paramount Comedy doesn’t yet have a broadcasting license in Russia. To do so, VIMN needs to register a company in Russia and then apply for a license to the communications watchdog Roskomnadzor. According to the Kommersant report, VIMN already had preliminary consultations with the pay TV operators MTS and Akado about distributing Paramount Comedy.

According to KVG Research, the proportion of humor content on Russian television has doubled since 2005.