E4 Backs Comedy To Boost Ratings

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Coming into the autumn season, digital channel E4 says it is experiencing its best year ever. Eight months in, it calls itself “officially the biggest digital channel for 16-34 year-olds with ratings up 12% year on year”. With hit shows like Skins, Inbetweeners and Misfits, it claims it has overtaken Channel 5 and BBC2 in terms of young viewers.

Among its highlights for autumn, it singles out Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy, a character based comedy which it says is “half filmed, half animated, with music supplied by Kasabian‘s Sergio Pizzorno”.

Also on the menu is a new sitcom based around online breakout act The Midnight Beast. Already a viral hit, with over 38 million views of their comedy songs to date, The Midnight Beast arrives on E4 early next year. Band members Stefan Abingdon, Dru Wakely and Ashley Horne play struggling musicians, alongside a host of comic guests. Each episode sees them “staple their songs and stupid real-life experiences together" as they cope with challenges like sharing a flat and trying to impress girls. Sounds like Inbetweeners on Ice.

Comedy Lab, the comedy strand that launched Peter Kay, Russell Brand and Jimmy Carr, as well as uncovering Fonejacker, is also back for a new run. Six half-hour commissions include Anna and Katy, which sees sketch double act Anna Crilly and Katy Wix bring their brand of character comedy to E4; and Totally Tom, a scripted comedy/sketch show, written/performed by Tom Palmer & Tom Stourton.

As for Entertainment, E4 is launching Sorority Girls in which “five all-American Sorority sisters will be giving girls at Leeds University the opportunity to be part of the UK's first ever Sorority Chapter.

Other highlights include a new run of reality soap Made in Chelsea and the return of Bafta-winning drama Misfits. This series sees Joe Gilgun (star of This Is England '86) enrolling for community service as new guy Rudy. In addition, there will be an E4.com special called Misfits Online: Vegas Baby!