For years, Comedy Central has been one of cable’s most popular and acclaimed networks, with wildly popular and enduring fare like THE DAILY SHOW, THE COLBERT REPORT, SOUTH PARK, TOSH.0, INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, and its uproarious series of celebrity roasts (including the latest with actor/writer/director James Franco). Just as the network has grown, so have all the great comedic talents of today that are a regular part of its success. Yet, there’s always room for more, which is why in January of this year, Comedy Central launched its online arm, CC Studios, a showcase for some of the young rising stars of the standup world in hilarious original content that benefits both creators, comedians and consumers alike. (See links below).

As Allison Kingsley, Comedy Central’s Vice President of Digital Development explains, CC Studios not only seeks to entertain viewers with the network’s trademark brand of humor, but also hopes to provide up and coming comedians with a platform to display their talents. “The goal of CC Studios is to create compelling content that engages the Comedy Central fan via the digital screens. It’s a great opportunity to incubate new ideas and work with upcoming talent. As part of Kent Alterman’s (Comedy Central’s president of content development and original programming) team we view development as a multi-platform experience. Developing for the digital screens allows us to extend the conversation to talent within the comedy community,” she says.

CC Studios features groundbreaking original content like THIS IS NOT HAPPENING, hosted by comedian Ari Shaffir, and featuring some of today’s top comedic talent like Doug Benson, T.J. Miller, and the Walsh Bros. revealing some of their most embarrassing – but hilariously true – moments in front of a live audience. As an extension of its outreach, THIS IS NOT HAPPENING also airs in audio form on the network’s SiriusXM satellite radio channel (channel 95), a factor that, as Kingsley says, benefits both the show’s creators and its consumers alike. (The show is returning for a second season).

There’s also short form content produced as an adjunct to the cable network’s existing series: PUSH AND BELIEVE, featuring Brody Stevens as a “motivational guru” who not only interviews, but also sends positive vibes to comedians who will soon take the stage on the network’s HALF HOUR standup series, and BEHIND AMY SCHUMER, a behind the scenes look at the life and career of the popular show’s title character. New shows are also in development at CC Studios, and fresh content will appear on the site this Fall.

In addition to being a showcase for new talent, Kingsley says that CC Studios has also served as a stepping stone towards greater opportunities for many of its rising stars. “Since January we’ve worked with some incredibly talented people who are being considered for other projects. A great example of this is H. Michael Croner. He’s the writer and performer in a web series (called) BRODEPENDENT that we launched when we premiered. Gary Mann (Comedy Central’s senior vice president of original programming and development) saw an early episode and brought H. Michael in to read for a new series we were launching for on air, and he was cast. We’re hopeful that we’ll have many more stories like this to share in the near future!”

Social media is also a huge part of CC Studios’ consumer strategy. “We’re really excited about how we can interact with the viewers. We create a social strategy that’s part of the development process based on the creative of each show. We work with talent not only to come up with fun ways to engage viewers but to also extend the narrative and enhance the development process,” Kingsley says.

While each show has a built-in presence through Comedy Central’s Facebook and Twitter pages, there’s also a Tumblr page that serves as another platform for interactivity with the site’s viewers, and CC Studios’ team emphasizes that aspect of the site with each show’s creators. “We are aware that we are developing for the digital screens, so engagement is part of our conversation early in the creative process. As we evolve we’re really trying to inspire the talent we work with to use social tools to extend story or enhance the creative where its appropriate,” states Kingsley.

Overall, CC Studios is designed not just as an extension of one of cable’s most powerful and popular networks, but it’s also a destination where the next generation of comedians will thrive – and from whose talents the viewers will benefit. “We try to produce content that has a strong comedic point of view and connects with our audience,” says Kingsley. “Hopefully they (the viewers) find funny content from comics they love or new comics they can discover.”




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