New laugh track

MTV's Comedy Central to hit Germany

MTV Networks will launch a Comedy Central channel in Germany Jan. 15, making it the second non-music Viacom web to go on air here following Nickelodeon last year.

Net will air popular formats from the U.S. Comedy channel and German-produced inhouse shows as well as showcasing local comedy talent.

Two years ago Viacom took over MTV rival Viva, which included two music channels. MTV will convert one of those, Viva Plus, into Comedy Central.

MTV also operated two music webs of its own here, one of which was relaunched as Nick last September.

Markus Andorfer, who heads MTV’s Entertainment Channels, will oversee Comedy Central along with Nick, while former comedy format producer Thorsten Sievert will manage the new web and report to Andorfer.

“In the U.S. we made a name for ourselves with formats like ‘Southpark,’ ” said Andorfer. “In Germany, we want to reach 14- to 49-year-old viewers with programming tailor-made for German tastes.”

Stateside, where the web reaches more than 85 million households, Comedy Central is a favorite among young male viewers.

Meanwhile, MTV will continue to air controversial toon series “Popetown” despite loud protests from German Catholic groups.

MTV Networks program director Elmar Giglinger said the decision was based on the positive reaction of viewers, who came out in favor of the show in telephone and Internet surveys. The FSF, the industry’s self-regulating body, has also ruled in favor of the animated skein.

Series — about a priest who runs the back office at the Vatican and a zany pogo-stick-hopping pope — does not espouse a negative or hostile view of members of any religious group or violate human dignity, the FSF found.

The 10 episodes of “Popetown” will air Wednesdays and Saturdays, but only after 9 p.m.

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