Evan Shapiro, IFC/Sundance Channel president, talks about taking risks on new sitcoms

We've got a big Friday of comedy news to share with you, and I thought we'd start it off with a quick chat I had with Evan Shapiro, the president of IFC TV and the Sundance Channel, on the red carpet for the Monty Python reunion in New York City last night.

IFC will air a new six-part documentary about Monty Python to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their launch on the BBC, which begins on Oct. 18. In addition, IFC will be rebroadcasting all of the original Monty Python's Flying Circus episodes and the Python films. Since Shapiro was the executive producer on Chris Kattan's musical comedy series, Bollywood Hero, and his IFC channel has hosted the likes of The Whitest Kids U Know and Z Rock, I thought it'd be good to ask him for some perspective on how much of a risk network execs and programmers should take on new and alternative comedies. After all, the BBC took a big risk with Monty Python, and it wasn't until American TV stations on PBS latched onto it years later that Python really found its audience. In our brief talk, Shapiro noted one of IFC's recent acquisitions, Arrested Development, as well as the infamous rebirth of Family Guy. Here's what he told me:

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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