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TBS gives young auds a Burly Bear hug goodnight

Cabler, distrib pact for one-hour latenight block

NEW YORK — TBS is convinced there are armies of young adults surfing their TV sets for offbeat shows post-midnight.

Enter Burly Bear, the leading distributor of programming to college campuses, which has signed a deal with TBS to provide episodes of some of B.B.’s most popular shows for a one-hour latenight block twice a week with the umbrella title of Burly on TBS.

The offerings include “Half Baked,” a “rock ‘n’ roll cooking show” featuring guests like Shaquille O’Neal, Uncle Kracker and Lisa Loeb; “Celebrity Highway,” an animated series loaded with caricatures of Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson, Keanu Reeves and other stars; and “Sex Talk,” a roundtable discussion in which college-age men and women bare their souls about relationships.

Latenight tune-ins

TBS will run the block of shows Wednesdays at 2 a.m. Eastern time (11 p.m. Tuesdays Pacific time) and Thursday at 1 a.m. (10 p.m. Wednesdays Pacific time).

Howard Handler, CEO of the Burly Bear Network, said the TBS pact represents the first national cable deal for the company since it started in 1995. Burly Bear distributes four hours a week of programming to 600 universities throughout the country, with access to more than 5 million students.

Burly Bear’s investors include Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, Constellation Ventures/Bear Stearns, NB Capital Venture Partners, New York City Investment Fund, Citigroup Investments and CIT Venture Capital.

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