Comedy Central president Kent Alterman is the latest name to join the Gamechangers line-up at Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Alterman has presided over some of the most celebrated comic successes today, from Inside Amy Schumer to Drunk History and The Daily Show where he was a key voice in selecting Trevor Noah as host.
He has doubled the amount of original commissions meaning the channel is airing more new series than at any time in its history. This year, Comedy Central will air 10 news series and see the return of 13 originals.
Alterman will discuss how he is aiming to find better ways to exploit the channel’s signature shows on the international platform. He will also outline his ambition to create movies for Paramount Pictures, following on from the successful crossover of the Southpark TV series to the global feature hit, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.
“We’re thrilled to have someone of Kent’s stature at the Festival. It will be fascinating to hear about his huge ambitions for Comedy Central and to gain an insight into how he has created such a plethora of iconic hits in a famously tough genre,” said Lisa Campbell, festival director.
Alterman rejoined Comedy Central in 2010 as Head of Original Programming and Production (he served as Head of East Coast Development from 1996-2000). He was promoted to President, Original Programming in 2013 and rose to his current position of President in 2016. The comedy chief also led an expansion of the brand’s specials output and stand-up driven series like This is Not Happening and The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail. Under his leadership, the Comedy Central Roast franchise has elevated to new heights with the roasts of Charlie Sheen, James Franco, Justin Bieber and Rob Lowe, and spawned the new series, Roast Battle.
Under Alterman’s watch Comedy Central has greatly expanded its development for digital and social platforms, producing platform-specific, original series and short-form content. In 2016, over 3.7 billion streams and 20 billion minutes of original content were viewed across platforms led by destinations such as Facebook, cc.com, which launched both Idiotsitter and This Is Not Happening, and the Comedy Central Discover channel on Snapchat, which introduced James Davis to Comedy Central fans and led to the development and pick-up of his series, Hood Adjacent.
Prior to his current position with Comedy Central, Alterman had an overall film deal with Fox Film Studios. Before that, he directed and executive produced New Line’s feature film Semi-Pro, starring Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and Andre Benjamin. From 2001 to 2006, he served as Executive Vice President at New Line, overseeing a diverse slate of films including perennial Christmas hit, Elf, and multiple Oscar nominated films, A History of Violence and Little Children.
In Alterman’s first stint at Comedy Central, he oversaw development and production on such series as Strangers with Candy, Upright Citizens Brigade and TV Funhouse. Early in his career, he worked with Michael Moore as a writer, director and producer on the Emmy® Award-winning series TV Nation.
Alterman is based in Viacom’s Hollywood offices and reports to Bob Bakish, President and CEO, Viacom Inc.