Paramount Comedy is a 24-hour Russian cable television and satellite television comedy channel available in Russia, launched in 2012. It is owned by MTV Networks Europe and Viacom. In other parts of the world, such as the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Spain, the channel is known as Comedy Central.
Paramount Comedy Channel was launched as a television brand in the United Kingdom on November 1, 1995. In the Republic of Ireland a Paramount Comedy Channel targeting the Irish market was launched on May 9, 2004. The channel was launched in Spain in March, 1999. The channel also launched in Arabia in 1996, but it went defunct in 2000.
In both the United Kingdom and Spain the channel originally shared the broadcast channel with corporate sibling Nickelodeon, but later the two separated. In Arabia, the channel timeshared with TV Land but the two networks disappeared in 2000. It broadcasts a mixture of comedy series (both local and international) and original programming with local and international comedians.
Paramount Comedy 1
Paramount Comedy 1 was a television channel shown in the UK, available through digital satellite (Sky Digital) and cable (Virgin Media and UPC Ireland). As the name suggests, it is owned by Paramount Pictures (itself owned by Viacom) and concentrates on comedy. Paramount was not the first all-comedy channel in the UK; that distinction goes to The Comedy Channel, which had closed some years earlier.
Paramount Comedy launched in the UK on 1 November 1995 with comedies such as I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Frasier, Cheers and Ren & Stimpy. The channel quickly established itself as a springboard for new talent, including Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Leigh Francis and Sacha Baron Cohen; in 1999 Paramount Comedy joined forces with LWT and Channel 4 to produce the pioneering sitcom Spaced, written by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes (née Stevenson).
The channel commissioned stand-up comedy both on-air and live events, attracting big names such as Lee Evans, Peter Kay and Russell Brand. Its programming portfolio extended to include America's biggest comedy Two and a Half Men in 2004, the controversial cartoon series South Park in 2005 and The Sarah Silverman Program, which debuted in the UK in 2007, exclusively on Paramount Comedy.
Paramount Comedy 2
Paramount Comedy 2 was a television channel shown in the UK and Ireland. It launched on 1 September 2003 on Sky Digital, and followed soon after on Telewest and NTL (both now known as Virgin Media). The channel was initially a so-called 'timeshift channel' service, offering programmes from Paramount Comedy 1 at different times. In 2004, Paramount Comedy 2 was unveiled as the UK’s destination for classic comedy from the US and the UK, including M*A*S*H, Frasier, Monty Python and Black Books. Paramount Comedy +1 then took up the mantle as the timeshift channel of the parent Paramount Comedy 1 channel. Unlike Paramount Comedy 1, Paramount Comedy 2 did not have a separate ad-stream for Ireland. Parent company Viacom announced on 12 February 2009 that the channel would be re-branded as Comedy Central Extra on 6 April 2009.