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‘Sports’ is central to Comedy net

Laffer channel goes after jocks for yuks

Comedy Central is infusing some “Daily Show” spirit into the world of sports.

Cabler recently wrapped production in Los Angeles on a pilot, tentatively titled “Sports Central,” that sends up sports news in the way that “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” spoofs political coverage.

“Daily Show” scribe Paul Mercurio and producer James Jones (“The Ben Stiller Show,” “Mad TV”) are exec producing the project, which is planned as a weekly half-hour. Mercurio served as the anchor in the pilot alongside correspondents Regan Burns and Casey Wilson.

Comedy Central VP of development and original programming Jim Sharp said “Sports Central” would tackle sports the way Stewart tackles news.

“You’ll be able to watch this show and get the sports headlines, the same way a lot of people actually turn to ‘Daily Show’ for their news,” he said. “A lot of it will be observational. We’ll let people hang themselves. You can run tape of (Texas Rangers pitcher) Kenny Rogers attacking a cameraman and it practically speaks for itself.”

Sharp noted sports has been a priority area for net chief Doug Herzog since his arrival. Comedy Central already commands a loyal following among men 18-34 and 18-49.

Still, cabler execs say they’re making tweaks to the format, including the number of hosts and type of field segments. Pilot featured pieces on the NBA draft, Lance Armstrong and fantasy baseball.

If “Sports Central” is greenlit to series, Comedy Central would have a corner on fake news in sports, politics and entertainment (the latter via upcoming weekly skein “The Showbiz Show With David Spade”). Stewart’s Busboy Prods. also is producing “The Colbert Report,” a send-up of personality-driven opinion shows like “The O’Reilly Factor.”

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