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Comedy Central to Revisit 'Late Night'

After testing the repurposing waters earlier this month with ABC's The Job, Comedy Central dived in head first last week, acquiring rights to air same-day repeats of NBC's Late Night With Conan O'Brien.

Beginning in September, Comedy will air Late Night
on weekdays at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. — hours after the show's initial 12:35 a.m. run on NBC, Comedy senior vice president of programming Kathryn Mitchell said. It will likely flank the 6:30 p.m. next-day repeat of The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Comedy, which tested repurposing with the weekly series The Job
earlier this month, is seeking other opportunities. Mitchell said the network would be very selective in determining which shows would work best, and wouldn't rule out considering repurposing rights for an unproven pilot.

"One of the things about repurposing is most people are jumping on the bandwagon of shows that are already successful," Mitchell said. "But we would consider taking a risk with a [broadcast] network to develop a new series."

As for Late Night, Comedy Central intends to air each episode a second time on the following day — either in late mornings or early afternoons — in addition to the evening rerun under the one-year deal, she added.

Mitchell said Comedy would air each Friday episode of Conan
on Monday, but would run repeats of the week's shows on the weekends.

Given the success of the network's topical skein The Daily Show,
Mitchell believes that Late Night
will appeal to its viewers, although she declined to provide ratings projections.

"I'm keen on repurposing, particularly with this show," Mitchell said. "[Late Night with] Conan O'Brien
is perfect for our audience."


Comedy Central is the second network to ink a repurposing pact with NBC for a late-night talk show. E! Entertainment Television last month reached a deal to offer same-day encores of NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly.

NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa said the agreement will help increase viewership for the 20-year-old show, hosted for the past nine years by O'Brien and the prior 11 by David Letterman.

"This new deal with Comedy Central is a perfect fit for the show and will expand its audience base even further," Sassa said in a statement.

The repurposing agreement comes on the heels of Comedy Central's airing of four episodes from the first season of the ABC comedy The Job
earlier this month. Comedy repeated the New York-set detective series — now in its second season — on March 4 through March 7, and aired an additional two episodes on March 10.

While the network was satisfied with The Job's
cumulative 0.3 rating, Mitchell said she was expecting a stronger performance.

The network has yet to decide whether to enter into a full repurposing deal for current and future episodes of The Job, she said.

"It was O.K., but we would have done better if we had more time to effectively promote it," Mitchell said.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.