Does the world really need another televised awards show?
Comedy Central thinks so.
The network on Monday announced the launch of The Comedy Awards — its own entry into the annual awards season.
The first annual event will be taped at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom on March 26 and will air April 10, 2011 on Comedy Central and MTV-owned channels Spike TV, TV Land, VH1 and Nick At Nite — similar to how Comedy Central handled the live airing of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity And/Or Fear.”
And unlike some of MTV’s other awards shows — like the Video Music Awards or MTV Movie Awards — Comedy Central is trying to make this awards program a bit more prestigious.
"We're trying not to make this the 'Comedy Central Awards,'" Comedy Central president Doug Herzog said, adding that's also the reason why Stewart and Colbert are no shoo-ins to host the show.
They've put together a large board of directors (including James Burrows, Billy Crystal, Will Ferrell, Whoopi Goldberg, Brad Grey, Seth MacFarlane, Adam McKay and Ray Romano) to select the nominees, and are choosing the winners through an Academy-like invitation-only voting body “comprised of 500-1000 members from the comedy community — including writers, producers, performers and directors.” (The event will also feature several fan-voted awards, too.)
Comedy is "bigger than ever," Herzog, but there's a "real void" in the awards show universe for it.
"Music has a night, movies have a night, television has a night," he said. "Comedy has no night," he said — though it once did, with the American Comedy Awards, a show that ran for 15 years, 14 of them on ABC. (Comedy Central carried the last one, in 2001.)
The network is billing the “The Comedy Awards” as “the first-ever multi-network, multi-platform, annual event dedicated to honoring and celebrating the world of comedy.”
A host has yet to be been named, and Herzog told TheWrap that there's a good chance there won't be one. "We have a small handful of names," he said, "but if we can't find the perfect host, we'll just go with a series of presenters."
Don Mischer — an Emmy-award winning producer of Super Bowl halftime shows, Olympic opening ceremonies, Kennedy Center Honors and Obama’s Lincoln Memorial Inaugural Concert — has signed on to produce the inaugural show.
There’s a philanthropic component to all of this, too: MTV is establishing The American Comedy Fund in conjunction with the Entertainment Industry Foundation for the launch of The Comedy Awards.
Asked why the show won't be aired live, Herzog said: "First night jitters."
"In a perfect world, the 2012 show will be live," he said. "We plan on being around for a long time."