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Laff cabler reups 3 in primetime

'Man Show,' 'Mall,' 'Ben' all on for renewals

NEW YORK — Comedy Central, which is both gaining in primetime and adding to its subscriber count, has renewed three of its weekly primetime series: “The Man Show,” “Strip Mall” and “Turn Ben Stein On.”

All three have generated more viewership in primetime this season. Comedy Central averaged a 0.8 primetime rating in cable homes during the most recent August week — a 14% boost from the network’s average rating in July and a 29% jump over its rating for the second quarter of 2000.

In circulation, Comedy Central has delivered solid gains of 3.9 million cable and satellite households in the past eight months, elevating its total sub count to 66.3 million, which puts it 21st among all cable networks. (The top six — TBS, Discovery, CNN, ESPN, USA and TNT — all reach more than 78 million households.)

The network has renewed the gleefully male-chauvinist half-hour “The Man Show,” hosted by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla and featuring the Juggy Dance Squad girls, for a third season of 26 episodes in its Sunday at 10 p.m. time period.

The Nielsen success of “Man Show” has provided a powerful lead-in to “Strip Mall,” the twisted soap-opera parody starring Julie Brown, which premiered in June. It has received a 10-episode renewal.

Comedy Central has greenlit another rookie series, the offbeat talkshow “Turn Ben Stein On,” for an additional 14 half-hour episodes in the Thursday at 10:30 timeslot, where it follows the long-running “Win Ben Stein’s Money.”

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