Comedy Central Launches New Web Venture

ComedyCentral.com, the Web unit of cable network Comedy Central, is expected to launch a revamped online shopping area Wednesday. The store, called shop@comedycentral, is scheduled to open its virtual doors at 10 p.m. EST in conjunction with tonight’s season premiere of “South Park.”

According to Holly Lim, vice president, enterprises and corporate strategy, on-air promotions during tonight’s episode of “South Park” will direct viewers to the new shopping area of ComedyCentral.com. As part of the store’s grand opening, merchandise featuring a new “South Park” character, said to be named Towelie, will be available today.

The launch of the interim shopping area on ComedyCentral.com follows the closure of the site’s original commerce partner, WhatsHotNow.com. That site folded about six weeks ago. Lim said that the new shopping area was set up to fulfill back orders resulting from the closing of WhatsHotNow and also to give the site some time to find a permanent commerce vendor. The interim store is managed by Robertson Marketing Group, which is among the final four vendors being considered for partnership.

At launch, shop@comedycentral.com will feature 10 items. The products will be available on ComedyCentral.com as well as through the network’s 1-800-4COMEDY toll-free number.

Lim could not specify when a permanent e-commerce vendor would be named, but added “I’d love to have [the permanent] store up for the holiday season; obviously, that’s my goal. To some people that means September. If I could have it up by some time in November, right after Thanksgiving, that would be great.”