Comedy Central adds five pilots

With programming that includes Chappelle's Show, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, South Park, and The Colbert Report, Comedy Central is no longer just another basic-cable channel. The network is coming off its best year ratings-wise to date and has announced five new programs it hopes will continue the positive trend.

The five shows ordered to pilot expand Comedy Central's slate with a mix of animation, sketch comedy, and scripted programs, and feature the talent of Michael Ian Black, Larry the Cable Guy, and Lewis Black.

Night Writer comes from the mind of T. Sean Shannon, the former head writer of Saturday Night Live. It's art imitating life as the show focuses on a television writer and features short sketches. The program is based on Shannon's books Bum Love, Cough it Up, and Big Business.

Redneck comedian Larry the Cable Guy will get animated in a to-be-titled cartoon. The comedian will live up to his name and play a co-owner of a cable TV station who has different opinions on programming than the straightlaced female co-owner.

Comedy Central pokes fun at Stockholm Syndrome in Held Up, a show about a disenchanted bank teller whose branch gets robbed. The robbers--dressed up as Batman, the Three Stooges, James Bond, and Spider-Man--will keep the cast of characters hostage the entire series, with the main characters eventually becoming fond of their captors.

Root of All Evil is a fake courtroom drama that sees two people or topics going head-to-head. The Daily Show's Lewis Black will serve as the show's judge and hear a rotating group of comedians explain why their "client" is the root of all evil. Topics on tap include Dick Cheney versus Paris Hilton and "chick flicks" versus video games.

Michael Ian Black of Stella and The State fame will host and star in Michael Ian Black Doesn't Understand, a sketch show that tackles one "hot-button topic" each week.

Comedy Central is also moving forward with three shows that have been given presentation deals: the urban pop culture magazine show David Alan Grier's Chocolate News starring the former In Living Color actor, the Middle Eastern-American comedy show The Watch List, and an untitled project starring comedian JoKoy.

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