Monday, April 20, 2015

The Cable Comedy Wars

In the 1980's, it seemed as though the sky was the limit when it came to cable television. About the only thing a successful cable operator needed to do was to be the first to do a particular genre and millions of dollars awaited them. Unfortunately for the comedy world, however, there were two channels vying to become THE comedy cable network- HA! Television and The Comedy Channel.

HA! would seek to use its parent company Viacom's huge catalog of classic sitcoms to launch itself as the place to go for comedy. 

The Comedy Channel, owned by TimeWarner's HBO, would attempt to produce new programming from a variety of sources to make up its programming day. Unfortunately, it was unable to afford much programming, so it would repeat its primary programming block three times each day.

After several years of competition, Neither network had made much headway in the cable industry. The decision was made to combine the two channels, rather than just continue a brutal competition that would probably just result in both channels going bankrupt. Comedy Central was formed.