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Horror Comedies on TapFor FearNet This Summer

Horror-themed network FearNet will
look to kill viewers with laughter as it launches a block
of original horror/comedy series this summer.

The shows are part of the Comcast, Sony Pictures
and Lionsgate-owned service’s lineup of original
series and specials that will complement its library
of feature films,
FearNet president
and general manager
Peter Block
said.

“We are primarily
a horror, thriller,
suspense-focused
mov ie channel ,
but we recognize
that the audience
is looking for original
programming
to complement that
programming,” he
said. “It’s not about
shows that parallel
our movies but supplement
the movies
that we have.”

The programmer, which launched its linear
FearNet HD channel last October after initially
rolling out a video-on-demand service in 2006,
will launch a Tuesday-night block of original
horror/comedies dubbed “Twisted Comedy,” according
to Block.

Shows slated include Todd and the Book of Pure
Evil
, a supernatural comedy from Canada about a
small-town high school kid trying to save the world
from the dark powers of a mysterious book, and
Psychoville, a U.K.-produced black comedy about a
group of characters haunted by a mysterious blackmailer.

“Our audience is very sophisticated — they don’t
just want horror that’s mainstream horror, they’re
looking for different kinds of programming so the
shows represent a natural extension of the network,”
Block said. “These two shows give our audience a nice
respite from the kind of movie programming we have
on now and are the kind of shows that you won’t see
anywhere else.”

Other series debuting this year include Girl Number
9
, a six-part thriller created by Dan Turner and
James Moran (Torchwood), the terrifying story of
a cop’s race against time to save his own daughter
from a serial killer; and Post Mortem With Mick
Garris
, an interview series starring the famed horror-
film producer.

On the distribution side, FearNet recently reached
long-term carriage deals with Time Warner Cable and
Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV. Block cites distribution
talks with other distributors and expects to
double the current base of 5 million subscribers by
year-end.

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.