As part of our series featuring members of the 2010 CableFAX 100 and Most Powerful Women, we grabbed a few minutes with a member of both lists, Comedy Central pres Michele Ganeless. Below she gives her take on late-night TV, social media and of course those troublemakers over at South Park. Our women’s breakfast is sold out, but we still have a few seats for our CableFAX 100 luncheon on Dec. 9. Register HERE.
With the success of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” how do you think Conan at TBS will shake up the late-night scene considering it hits CC’s target youth demo more squarely than Leno or Letterman?
The youth of today increasingly do not differentiate between broadcast and cable the way viewers of the past did. To them, it’s the quality and content of a show that’s most important, and we know that in The Daily Show and The Colbert Report we have two unique shows whose relevance and impact on pop culture are unparalleled. They are two of the best and funniest shows on television, and because of their distinctness and consistent quality, their unprecedented run as the most-buzzed about shows in late night will continue well into the future.
What’s your take on social media? Is it important for Comedy Central to "fan the flames" or is it better left to fans to do it themselves without much guidance from the network?
Our strategy is to provide our audience with the tools they need to become evangelists for the shows and talent they love. If we give them the right tools and materials, social media allows them to spread the word on their own, with a voice of authenticity that can only come from the fans.
How do you see programming on Comedy Central continuing to evolve over the next year?
We are always looking for our next big hit, while continuing to nurture our current hits like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, “South Park,” and our newest hit, “Tosh.0.” Right now, we’re focused on launching Tosh on its new night in January, Tuesdays, and on the launch of its Tuesday companion, “Onion SportsDome,” our new weekly series from the folks behind The Onion.
Speaking of Tosh.0, why do you think it has resonated so much with your target viewers?
Daniel [Tosh] is literally in the heart of our demo. He speaks their language, and he’s just completely outrageous and laugh-out-loud funny. There is an endless amount of material for him to pull from online, and our fans seem to have an insatiable appetite for his comedy.
The hilarious South Park constantly pushes boundaries and has obviously been the subject of several controversies. As an exec, to what degree do you stay up at night worrying about what Matt Stone and Trey Parker will turn in next?
One of the greatest strengths of South Park is the willingness of Trey and Matt to address issues that others are too restrained or too afraid to tackle. Trey and Matt’s social commentary is something that their fans look forward to. Much to the contrary, rather than staying awake at night worrying about how they’ll attack the next episode, I eagerly anticipate finding out how they will be adding to their legacy.