TBS Uses MySpace for Comedy Challenge

NEW YORK Mark TBS as the latest media player making an attempt to harness the power of user-generated content and social networking to land new talent. The cable network has forged a partnership with News Corp.’s MySpace through which the two companies have launched a contest aimed at unearthing promising new comedians.

The new “Stand Up or Sit Down Comedy Challenge,” which kicked off this week on MySpace, allows both amateur and up-and-coming stand-up comics to upload videos of their acts to the Web. MySpace users can now vote for their favorites through Oct. 30, and eventually five finalists will then perform on TV during a one-hour TBS special hosted by ABC’s George Lopez on Friday Nov. 17 at 10 p.m.

Once the top five make their TV appearances, viewers can once again vote for their favorites on MySpace over the next 24 hours, with the ultimate winner be announced on TBS during its simulcast of the Comic Relief 2006 special on Nov. 18. That winner not only receives $50,000, but also gets a development deal with the network.

“‘Stand Up or Sit Down Comedy Challenge’ is a multi-platform comedy extravaganza that encompasses television, online/broadband and live entertainment, while also providing a dynamic partnership opportunity for TBS, MySpace and other partners,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks. “We are proud to be a part of this extensive initiative and look forward to searching for, finding and showcasing very fresh and very funny talent.”

Earlier this week, Yahoo announced the launch of the “Yahoo Talent Show,” which similarly will result in a winner potentially developing a series that will run on the portal. Also, AOL is in the midst of a talent search via its AOL Red teen portal through which the winner will receive a three episode pilot deal.