IFC Aims for Laughs with New Comedies, Three Renewals

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in Portlandia (IFC)

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein in Portlandia (IFC)

IFC, the cable channel once known as a showcase solely of independent films, is continuing its efforts to rebrand itself as a destination for “alternative comedy” with the announcement Tuesday of four new original comedies and the renewal of three others.

“We proved that smart comedy could find an audience,” declared the president of IFC (and co-owned Sundance Channel), Evan Shapiro, at a news conference in Manhattan where IFC Executive Vice President and General Manager Jennifer Caserta announced the new shows and renewals.

Caserta was assisted by “Brooke Alvarez” (aka actress Suzanne Sena) of IFC’s “Onion News Network” and Fred Armisen, the “Saturday Night Live” star who also stars in, and produces, the IFC series “Portlandia.” Both of those shows earned renewals based on their first seasons, Caserta announced, along with the David Cross comedy “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.”

IFC – like other cable channels whose names no longer directly symbolize what they do (think TLC or Bravo, for example) – is now firmly in the comedy business (with some indie films) with a lineup of original comedies mixed with old ones such as “The Larry Sanders Show,” “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Mr. Show,” “Arrested Development,” “Undeclared” and others.

Watch Heather Graham In A “Portlandia” Sketch:

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What’s new on IFC? Here’s what they announced Tuesday:

“Commercial Kings”: This series follows real-life commercial producers Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal as they travel the country producing outrageous (and memorable) local TV commercials for local businesses. Their commercial work has already earned them an avid following on Youtube. IFC showed a clip for this show and it was hilarious.

“Young, Broke & Beautiful”: This one stars a financially challenged travel writer named Stuart Schuffman (also known as “Broke-Ass Stuart”) as he visits unusual locales on the cheap.

“Whisker Wars”: The “hair-raising” world of beard-growing competitions (yes, they exist – a clip shown to the press today proves this!) is showcased in this series from, of all people, Thom Beers, the producer who makes all those macho shows such as “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers.”

“Bullet in the Face”: It’s a comedy about a “psychotic criminal turned cop” from producer Alan Spencer, who once created the spoofy cop sitcom “Sledge Hammer!”

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