TBS Extends Comedy On Web

A week after TNT launched its first broadband channel, comedy-centric sister network TBS on Tuesday announced its own broadband initiative centered on a pair of Web sites tied to new network shows.

TBS today will unveil veryfunnyads.com in conjunction with the premiere of "World's Funniest Commercials," a one-hour special hosted by Kevin Nealon that airs tonight on TBS. Laugh Lab, which will feature recently taped stand-up comedy segments and reside on TBS.com, is scheduled to begin this fall.

Starting in December, viewers will also be able to watch episodes of the new TBS comedies "My Boys" and "10 Items or Less" after airing, and will have access to exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes clips through Laugh Lab.

TBS has not yet announced ad sales deals for the broadband sites, and declined to discuss what types of sponsorship programs it was negotiating with advertisers. "We always look for companies that match up with TBS' "'very funny'" branding," a TBS spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.

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While the "World's Funniest Commercials" are broadcast as periodic specials on TBS, veryfunnyads.com will provide a continuously updated collection of humorous TV ads. Visitors will also be able to e-mail friends links to commercials and suggest funny ads for inclusion.

Laugh Lab will offer stand-up performances from more than 80 comedians including Jeff Garlin, George Wallace, Tammy Pescatelli and Paul Gilmartin. The videos, taped at clubs and other venues nationwide, will range from 60-second clips to full-length specials.

TBS is now in talks with comedians, writers and other talent to develop original programming for the Web, according to Steve Koonin, executive vice president and COO for TBS and TNT. "We expect to have a popular broadband site that's regularly scheduled with original shows and extensions of [network] shows," he said.

TBS will supplement its new broadband programs with a set of Internet-only features. They include MyTBS, a personalization tool that enables Laugh Lab viewers to get video clips geared to their own tastes and make recommendations, a site for uploading and rating user-created comic videos called Funny or Not, and a video blog featuring a selection of humorous viral videos from around the Web.

Viewers can also have a funny video clip sent to their computer each day, and on Laugh Lab, watch TBS's Department of Humor Analysis shorts, featuring John Cleese, which originally ran on the TBS site last year.

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