Comedy Central (British TV channel)

Last updated

Comedy Central
Comedy Central 2018.svg
CountryUnited Kingdom
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom and Ireland
Network Comedy Central
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format 1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 16:9 576i for the SDTV feed)
Timeshift serviceComedy Central +1
Ownership
OwnerParamount UK Partnership
(Paramount British Pictures/Sky Group)
Sister channels Comedy Central Extra
History
Launched1 November 1995
Former namesThe Paramount Channel
(1995–97)
Paramount Comedy Channel
(1997–2002)
Paramount Comedy
(2002–05)
Paramount Comedy 1
(2005–09)
Links
Website comedycentral.co.uk
comedycentral.ie
Availability
Cable
Virgin Media (UK)Channel 132 (HD)
Channel 133 (+1)
Channel 181
Virgin Media (Ireland)Channel 127
Channel 128 (+1)
Channel 177 (HD)
WightFibre Channel 115
Satellite
Sky (UK)Channel 112; 113 in Wales (SD/HD)
Channel 212; 213 in Wales (+1)
Channel 812 (SD)
Sky (Ireland)Channel 112
Channel 212 (+1)
Channel 341 (HD)
IPTV
FreewireChannel 148
TalkTalk TV Channel 307
BT TV Channel 307
Channel 370 (HD)
BT TV (via Now TV)Channel 344
Channel 359 (HD)
Plusnet TV Channel 307
Channel 370 (HD)
Eir Vision Channel 112
Channel 127 (+1)
Channel 189 (HD)
Streaming media
Sky Go Watch live (UK and Ireland only)
Now TV Watch live (UK and Ireland only)
Virgin TV Watch live (UK only)
TalkTalk TV Watch live (UK only)
TVPlayer Watch live (UK only)

Comedy Central is a British pay television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated. This channel is specific to audiences within the United Kingdom and Ireland. The channel is aligned with the original US version of the channel. The channel started as The Paramount Channel in 1995, before rebranding as the Paramount Comedy Channel in 1997 and again as Paramount Comedy 1 in 2004 before finally becoming Comedy Central on 6 April 2009.

Contents

History

1995–1997

The channel was launched as The Paramount Channel on 1 November 1995. The original schedule was a mixture of comedy and drama, including such eclectic offerings as Beauty and the Beast , several Japanese anime productions acquired from Manga Entertainment, and authentic Paramount archive programming such as The Magician , as well as Nickelodeon's Ren & Stimpy , due to its rather adult nature at times. It originally aired every evening after Nickelodeon's closing at 7:00pm until around 4:00am, with a testcard featuring a chicken crossing the road and holding up traffic airing during downtime (a segment deemed as "Chicken Tonite") until Nickelodeon started up at 6:00am.

1997–2009

Logo used from 2005 until 6 April 2009. Paramount Comedy 1.svg
Logo used from 2005 until 6 April 2009.

In February 1997, the Paramount Channel became the Paramount Comedy Channel, a channel dedicated solely to comedy. [1]

With expansion of Sky Digital on 4 February 2001, the channel no longer shared air time with Nickelodeon and started broadcasting with a daytime schedule beginning broadcasts at 9:00am. [2] On 1 July 2002, the channel renamed itself Paramount Comedy. By 2005, with the timeshift channel Paramount Comedy 2 having gone on the air in 2003, the primary channel was renamed as Paramount Comedy 1.

2009–present

Logo used from 6 April 2009 until 31 July 2012; the channel adopted the same on-screen identity as its American counterpart the next day on 1 August. Comedy Central UK.svg
Logo used from 6 April 2009 until 31 July 2012; the channel adopted the same on-screen identity as its American counterpart the next day on 1 August.

On 17 February 2009, it was confirmed that Paramount Comedy 1 would become Comedy Central from 6 April 2009 in the UK and Ireland. [3] Since season 13, Comedy Central has aired new episodes of South Park two days after they aired in the US (i.e., the episodes air on Comedy Central US on Wednesdays, and air on the UK counterpart on Fridays.) At 9:00pm on 6 April, Paramount Comedy 1 officially rebranded as Comedy Central, with the last programme on PC1 being an episode of Scrubs and the first programme on Comedy Central being a new episode of Two and a Half Men .

Logo used from 31 July 2012 until 9 January 2019; the channel adopted the same on-screen identity as its American counterpart the next day on 29 July. Network logo for Comedy Central.png
Logo used from 31 July 2012 until 9 January 2019; the channel adopted the same on-screen identity as its American counterpart the next day on 29 July.

Subsidiary channels

After no longer having to timeshare with Nickelodeon, the station increased its broadcasting hours, and was joined by Paramount Comedy 2 (later rebranded as Comedy Central Extra) on 1 September 2003.

A one-hour timeshift, Paramount Comedy 1 +1 (now Comedy Central +1) was launched on Sky channel 127 on 30 August 2005 and Virgin Media channel 133 shortly after.

A high-definition version, Comedy Central HD, launched on 9 August 2010 on Sky channel 222. [4] On 1 September 2010 the channel also became available on Virgin Media channel 133. [5] Comedy Central HD broadcasts high-definition programming including Two and a Half Men, 30 Rock , and South Park, in addition to new UK commissions. Virgin Media will also make some popular Comedy Central HD programmes available on demand.

A second timeshift, Paramount Comedy 2 +1 (now Comedy Central Extra +1) was launched on Sky channel 159, on 5 November 2007. Nicktoons Replay did timeshare with the channel between 6:00am and 7:00pm. However, that channel closed on 2 October 2012 and was replaced with a one-hour timeshift version of Nick Jr., allowing Comedy Central Extra +1 to broadcast 24 hours a day. Comedy Central Extra +1 closed on 20 July 2020 along with the timeshifts for MTV and MTV Music, as well as MTV OMG, Club MTV and MTV Rocks.

Availability in Ireland

Comedy Central has an alternative Irish feed of the same channel available on Sky Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone TV, and Eir. The feed launched in May 2006, advertising on this channel is overseen by Sky Media Ireland. The domain name comedycentral.ie also redirects to comedycentral.co.uk. An additional Irish commercial feed of the time-shift service, Comedy Central +1, was also launched shortly after the parent channel's re-branding on 6 April 2009. On 31 July 2019, Comedy Central Ireland +1 ceased broadcasting. [6]

From 31 March 2019, Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra's Irish broadcasting licence is registered within the Czech Republic. [7]

Programming

Current programming

NameOriginal channelOriginal run
Bad Education BBC Three 2012–2014
Bad Robots E4 2014–present
Blockbusters ITV
Sky One
BBC Two
Challenge
Comedy Central UK
1983–1995, 1997, 2000–2001, 2012, 2019–present
Bob's Burgers Fox 2011–present (seasons 1-6, 8 now broadcast on ITV2) [8] [9]
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Comedy Central USA2015–present [10] [11]
Drunk History Comedy Central UK2015–2017
Friends NBC 1994–2004
Impractical Jokers BBC Three
Comedy Central UK
Channel 5
2011–present
Live at the Apollo BBC One
BBC Two
2004–present
The Middle ABC 2009–2018
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars [12] [13] Logo
VH1
2012–present
Russell Howard & Mum [14] Comedy Central UK2016–2019
South Park Comedy Central USA 1997–present
Stand Up Central Comedy Central UK2015–2018
Two and a Half Men CBS 2003–2015

Original programming

In October 2011, Threesome , a narrative comedy series and Comedy Central's first original scripted comedy began. The series starred Emun Elliott, Irish actor Amy Huberman and Stephen Wight, was written by Tom MacRae, and produced by Big Talk Productions. [15]

In May 2012, it was announced that Comedy Central was to make a major push into original comedy content, with more than 20 new projects at various stages of development, and 10 scripts already ordered. Programming executive Sarah Farrell told trade magazine Broadcast , "This time next year, we will be doing as many of those projects as we possibly can. We are looking for things that are big, broad and accessible, with the laugh-out-loud factor that comes from big jokes and set pieces." She also noted that they are now "fully committed to the plans." [16]

The process was being micro-managed by Paramount bosses in New York, but with the announcement of such projects and Threesome's success, UK executives have been given greater control. Farrell also indicated that if the already commissioned second series of Threesome is popular, then "a third run could be up to 22 episodes in length." [16]

As of May 2012, details about most of the new projects are not publicly available, though the magazine Broadcast reported minor details of a proposed single-camera sitcom about a graduate who moves back in with his parents. A pilot episode of Big Bad World , which is written by Joe Tucker and Lloyd Woolf is reportedly being produced by Objective Productions and by the team behind Peep Show . Tristram Shapeero, who had been working in the US and whose credits include Happy Endings , Green Wing , Community , and I'm Alan Partridge , will direct, with Andrew Newman and Ben Farrell executive producing. Five further scripts are already complete, should the pilot be seen in a positive light by Comedy Central bosses. [16]

Comedy Central's move into original productions did not come without problems, as it was announced in April 2012 that Pete Thornton, the channel's comedy commissioner, had resigned to return to the BBC comedy department as its Creative Head of Comedy, and would oversee Comic Relief 2013. Comedy Central is one of several UK digital channels to work on increasing their original comedy output, with BSkyB investing in new British comedy programmes, and UKTV channels Dave and Gold also producing more of their own content. [16]

Alongside the other VIMN (Viacom International Media Networks) networks in the UK, Comedy Central, fuelled by the purchase of Channel 5, there has been an announcement to open a production studio [17] to make programming for Comedy Central and other channels.

It was announced in 2016 that Comedy Central and Channel X had greenlit a new prank comedy reality show presented and starting YouTuber Ben Phillips and his friends. The new series, titled Ben Phillips Blows Up , the channel announced there would be a 22-minute pilot episode due to be released in 2017 on Comedy Central. A full series would happen if the show is well received. [18]

In 2021, Comedy Central UK ordered three new shows for the network including quiz show Fact Off and panel show The Complaints Department. [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] The third new show was an all female comedy panel/satire show called Yesterday, Today and The Day Before [25] which was due to be hosted each week by comedians Suzi Ruffell, Maisie Adam and Sophie Duker, until Duker quit after the first episode in protest over cuts to her monologue about conflict between Israel and Palestine. [26] [27] [28] These shows join other unscripted/panel show formats on the network [11] includuing Rhod Gilbert's Growing Pains, [29] Comedy Game Night (previously shown on Channel 5) [30] [31] [32] and Guessable?, hosted by Sara Pascoe. [33]

Marathons

The channel frequently airs weekend marathons which consist of one or two shows being on-air for the majority of the day. They often contain loose themes and are on occasion sponsored, such as the "He Ain't Funny, He's My Brother" marathon which ran on the night of 24 November 2007. This night consisted of episodes from shows with a strong brother relationship theme and was sponsored by the film The Darjeeling Limited to promote its nationwide release.

Movies

Comedy Central also broadcasts comedy, animation or action films, including South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut , Dumb and Dumber , Jerry Maguire , The Mask , White Chicks , Scary Movie 3 , Teen Wolf , 13 Going on 30 , Bad Boys , Bad Boys 2 , Police Academy: Mission to Moscow , Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me , and Happy Feet .

The channel has begun showing movies on a regular basis, typically from 10:00 pm onwards.

In 2016, Comedy Central introduced a new service called Thursday Night Movies, in which a movie is broadcast on Comedy Central every Thursday, usually at about 9:00pm. [34]

Picture format

Until late 2011, Comedy Central and Comedy Central Extra continued to air in 4:3 in standard-definition, although many shows had already converted to 16:9 widescreen format, they were cropped to remain in a full-frame screen and later some were letterboxed. The shows on Comedy Central HD air in 16:9, though those in 4:3 are pillarboxed to fit the frame of widescreen. This practice was extended to the standard-definition channels when they began broadcasting in widescreen.

See also

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