Rebranded IFC: New Comedy Lineup Is 'Slightly Off'
IFC is pushing its 2010-11 programming slate with a new tagline: "Always On. Slightly Off." The cable network is debuting a new comedy lineup, which includes bringing the national humor newspaper "The Onion" to TV.
Gearing its lineup to a 70% male audience, the "Onion" comedy series capitalizes on the Web series of the same name -- "Onion News Network" -- a weekly update of fake news, crazy headlines and zany debates between the show's anchors and guests.
In fact, the new tag and lineup reflect an evolution in programming. IFC has expanded from a home for edgy, independent cinema into a network that also showcases original and acquired content. Working within the scripted comedy genre, upcoming fall series also include "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," which stars "Arrested Development" alums David Cross and Will Arnett.
Jennifer Caserta, executive vice president/GM, IFC, credits the rebranding as part of an overall strategy. "Independent films will continue to be a mainstay on IFC. The original programming we create carries an "Always On. Slightly Off." sensibility, which is a response to a changing notion of what "indie" means."
She notes that the audience comes to IFC "for our particular point of view they can't get anywhere else."
For example, "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" follows the misadventures of Todd Margaret (David Cross), a pathological liar who runs his company's London office, and his blowhard boss (Will Arnett).
In addition, IFC has acquired "Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town," a "Hall" reunion series debuting in August, and "Dead Set," a satirical zombie horror show set in the U.K.'s "Big Brother" house, premiering in October. Both shows join IFC's existing lineup of "Arrested Development," "Monty Python's Flying Circus," "Food Party" and "The Whitest Kids U' Know."
Caserta says she's committed to "rescuing TV that's just outside the mainstream," citing the return of "Kids in the Hall." "It's all part of our new sharp-cool-twisted content filter."
Per MRI, IFC viewers are largely male, educated and upscale, but tough to reach. They fall into two segments -- what IFC calls "Authentic Influencers" and "Responsible Rebels." "Authentic Influencers," ages 18-34, are "early adopters" and share their discoveries with like-minded friends.
"Responsible Rebels," ages 34-49, are seasoned "Authentic Influencers," who have responsibilities but still desire a creative lifestyle. They connect with the world via social media, blogs and word of mouth.
Upcoming development projects push the "Slightly Off" motif: "I Love the A.D.'s" (working title), an irreverent animated series that takes place during Jesus' "lost years" in his 20s, "Variety Shac," featuring an all-female sketch comedy troupe, and "Jobbed," about a downsized East Village dot-commer. "Dieter Horn in Night Port" is a spoof of 1980s action comedies like "Magnum PI," in which a German criminal, armed with great hair and one-liners, fights crime rather than go to jail.