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Comedy Will Take Chances 'If It Makes us Laugh'

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The broadcast networks haven't had much recent success with comedy series because they're spending too much time "watering down" their shows for the audience and trying to "rip off" the competition, Comedy Central president Doug Herzog told an industry crowd Tuesday.

"Comedy is really hard," said Herzog, the featured speaker at the Industry Forum Luncheon series at the Museum of Television & Radio in Beverly Hills. "The process (of creating a comedy series) is broken at the networks a little bit. ... You have to know comedy. (At Comedy Central), if it makes us laugh, we'll take a chance on it."

Herzog -- who's responsible for such Comedy Central hits as "South Park" and "The Daily Show" -- also said that the cable network's late-night series "Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn" isn't necessarily off the air permanently, admitting that it was pulled for poor ratings and high production costs.

"It's resting," he quipped. "We're contemplating bringing it back. There's a lot of value in what Colin built."

He added that if "Tough Crowd" were to return to the network's schedule, it might be a retooled version, with Quinn likely involved in the series but not necessarily as the host.

Asked during a Q&A session about any plans to ramp up Comedy Central's reality programing, Herzog admitted that he's "struggled with the reality thing."

"If everyone else is doing something, I always want to go in the other direction," he said. "We've looked at some (projects) that were pretty good, but I felt they belonged on other networks."

He added that he's not necessarily interested in the competition-style reality shows but rather those with more comedic elements, a la MTV's "The Osbournes" or Fox's "The Simple Life."

He also admitted that Comedy Central's previous reality-comedy entry, "I'm With Busey," featuring Gary Busey, "didn't work so much."

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