On November 15, 1989, Time Warner launched The Comedy Channel as the first cable channel devoted exclusively to comedy-based programming. On April 1, 1990, Viacom launched a rival channel called Ha! that featured reruns of situation comedies and some original sketch comedy.
After two years of limited distribution, the two channels merged into one, relaunching on April Fools' Day 1991 as CTV: The Comedy Network, changing its name to Comedy Central on June 1, 1991 to prevent issues with CTV, a Canadian broadcast television network. Viacom bought out Time Warner's half in April 2003 for $1.23 billion.
From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, much of the programming on Comedy Central, and its predecessors, consisted of comedy films, sitcom reruns, half-hour specials and clip shows featuring comedians. The channel had a relatively small viewership. The channel made a breakthrough when South Park premiered in 1997.
At 8 a.m. ET on October 30, 2000, Comedy Central modernized its globe logo.
In 2002, Comedy Central Records was formed as a means of releasing albums by comedians that have appeared on the network. This unit would ultimately be sold to Fox.
Since 2003, Comedy Central has created a tradition of roasting comedians in tradition of the New York Friars' Club roasts. Ugly Americans has an episode about this called "The Roast of Twayne the Boneraper".
The Secret Stash premiered on July 4, 2003 that every Saturday and Sunday morning at 1 am, a movie, comedy special or animated program is shown unedited for language. Most nudity in the programs is still edited out.
On Monday January 15, 2007, MTV Networks International launched Comedy Central in Germany which is available for free throughout Europe.
Comedy Central launched a new logo for the network on January 1, 2011. This new logo has won several awards.
Viacom 18 launched the channel in India in the early 2012.
StarHub launched Comedy Central Asia in Singapore on 1 November 2012; the channel was added to its Basic Entertainment Upsize group.
Comedy Central HDEdit
Comedy Central HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of Comedy Central that launched on January 13, 2009. Comedy Central HD currently only airs in Eastern Standard Time.
- Comedy Central at Wikipedia