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Spike Builds on Comedy Hit

5/11/2010 6:05 AM Eastern

Spike TV will look to
tickle viewers’ funny bones with
a slate of new scripted series it
hopes will appeal to both young
and older male viewers.

Building on the success of its
original scripted, college football-
tinged comedy series Blue
Mountain State
, Spike TV president
Kevin Kay said the network
will move more toward sportsoriented
comedy shows to bring
in new viewers.

Scripted programs focusing on
pro hockey, golf and illegal gambling
are among five new shows
in development, including projects
from actors Denis Leary and
John Schneider, Kay said.

Spike has found that reality
and scripted shows that include
comedic elements, such as Manswers
and Blue Mountain State,
have successfully drawn in its
male audience. Kay said he has
no plans for Spike to compete
with MTV Networks sibling network
Comedy Central.

“It feels like guys are coming
here to laugh on the reality and
scripted side, so if we can be the
guy comedy channel that lives
in the sports world, I think that’s
perfectly suitable for Spike.”

New comedy pilot shows include
the Leary-produced Rebel
League
, which takes a comedic
look at the launch of a contemporary
pro hockey league designed
to rival the National Hockey
League, and Back Nine, starring
John Schneider as a hard-drinking,
washed-up former U.S. Open
golf champion trying to make it
back onto the tour. It also stars
Carmen Electra.

Kay says Schneider, who
starred in the 1970’s series The
Dukes Of Hazzard
, will hopefully
help the network draw an older,
25-to-54-year-old male viewer
to complement Spike’s core audience
of 18-to-34-year-old men.

Blue Mountain State has been
so successful with young guys so
we’re looking to expand off that
base,” he said. “Schneider, as well
as the games of golf and hockey,
appeals to both older and younger
men.”

Other scripted series in development
include Kings By Night,
about three regular guys who
open a illegal, underground casino;
Fort Bush, about two misfit U.S. Army drill sergeants who
try to maintain their hard-partying
lifestyle despite the arrival
of an uptight new captain with
a grudge; and Playing With Guns,
with Danny Masterson and Joey
Kern as childhood friends who
have grown up to become smalltown
cops.

The network also has several
reality series in development,
including the Thom Beers-produced
Weapon X, which looks to
create game-changing weapons
and place them in history’s most
famous battles; On The Rocks, in
which restaurant bar and consultant
John Taffer looks to make
over failing establishments; Alternative
History
, which looks to
examine what would have happened
if the outcomes of history’s
greatest battles were reversed;
Phowned!, which highlights the
art of the gag phone call; and
Haunted Civilization, exploring
history’s deadliest locations in
an attempt unearth information
never before discovered.

Kay said he expects two scripted
and two or three reality series
from the slate to make Spike’s
schedule. He said the network
hopes to eventually launch a twohour
block of original comedy series
over the next year.

Spike is looking to reverse a
recent ratings slump that saw it
slide 17% in total viewers during
the first quarter of 2010, to 982,000
from 1.1 million in the same period
a year ago.

September