Cabler, other MTV Networks to laud best in comedy

Comedy Central is rejoining the kudos circuit.

The cabler and fellow MTV networks Spike TV, TV Land, Nick at Nite and VH1 will air the inaugural Comedy Awards simultaneously April 10 from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. Kudocast will be taped March 26.

Comedy Central previously hosted the final year of the American Comedy Awards in 2001. Those kudos ran from 1987-2000 on ABC before shifting to cable for their last installment.

New kudos event will honor the top laff talent and projects in television, film and standup and on the Web. The Academy Awards have sometimes been criticized for not giving enough recognition to comedy, and the Comedy Awards will credit those actors and films that often don’t make the cut at the Oscars.

“We really felt comedy needed its own night,” Doug Herzog, president of the MTV Networks Entertainment Group, told Daily Variety. “Comedy couldn’t be bigger at the box office, and TV comedies are very strong. Also, because of new platforms, comedy is more accessible than ever before.”

Show is set to be a two-hour telecast. Herzog added that while this year’s inaugural event will be taped 15 days before airing, future editions will likely be live.

“It’s first-night jitters, and we want to make sure it floats,” he said. “We have the opportunity to make it perfect on its first night. Down the line we’ll probably make it live.”

Nominees will be chosen by a board of directors that include James Burrows, Billy Crystal, Will Ferrell, Whoopi Goldberg, Brad Grey, Seth MacFarlane, Jay Roach and Ray Romano. Once the noms are announced, winners will be selected by 500-1,000 members of the comedy community, including writers, producers, performers and directors.

Also, as part of the telecast, MTV Networks Entertainment Group will work with the Entertainment Industry Foundation to establish a fund to provide financial assistance, health benefits and other resources for struggling comedians.

Don Mischer, Charlie Haykel and Casey Patterson are exec producers.

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