maniaTV Fires Up ‘BarBeQuay’

NEW YORK Original online video hub maniaTV has unveiled BarBeQuay with Jonah Ray, a comedy-infused talk show with a twist — each episode takes place at a party thrown by the show’s host — and guests can only answer questions through improv or comedy performances.

Ten episodes are planned for BarBeQuay, the latest installment of maniaTV’s recently launched Comedy on Demand Network programming block. Among the scheduled guests are comic actors Janeane Garofalo and Rob Hubel.

The show was created by Mason Steinberg, a writer/producer who has worked on TV series such as Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers. The 19-year-old host Ray has appeared on or written for various comedy series on TV and the Web, including The Freeloaders Guide to Easy Living, a popular clip from the now defunct Turner comedy site Superdeluxe.com.

maniaTV has landed AT&T as BarBeQuay’s initial sponsor. The wireless firm is utilizing pre-roll video spots, banner ads and several unique product placement opportunities within the show to promote its new Samsung Propel and Pantec Matrix phones, as well as its subsidiary business Yellowpages.com. For example, during the show Ray will make an effort to mention AT&T products during interviews. Plus, AT&T cellphone sounds will be used to bleep out foul language.

maniaTV’s recently installed vp of programming Amber Lawson, who has shepherded several Web comedy projects for the site, believes that BarBeQuay’s less structured nature should mesh well with the site’s overall sensibility. “This is a great format for showcasing prominent comedians and actors in an informal, real-life setting,” she said. “The party atmosphere lends itself to a vibe that is unique and authentic. We know from other shows, that the more genuine an interview setting, the more trust we can maintain with the audience and thus the advertiser.”