2012 Festival to be Broadcast on RFD TV09-02-2012 09:39 am
Norfolk’s Viaero Great American Comedy Festival has made a name for itself throughout Nebraska in its first five years.
The same soon may be true nationwide.
RFD TV — which was launched in 2000 and is the nation’s first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural America — has produced a 60-minute television special on the festival that will air Monday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.
Mike Wallace, a producer with RFD TV, was on hand in June for the fifth annual festival that was created to pay tribute to the legacy of Johnny Carson, to film festival shows and interview performers and others for the special.
RFD TV’s corporate headquarters are in Omaha, but its production efforts are based in Nashville. Nielsen Media Research indicates that RFD TV can be seen in more than 41 million U.S. households and has 13.2 million adult viewers weekly.
The company’s music and entertainment programming reaches 6.9 million adults weekly. And among adults, Nielsen research indicates, RFD TV is the number two cable network in the U.S. in terms of time spent viewing.
For DISH satellite subscribers, RFD TV is found on channel 231. For DirecTV satellite subscribers, it’s on channel 345. RFD TV is also found on most of the nation’s largest cable networks, including Time Warner Cable, Comcast and and Cox Cable.
But it is not part of CableONE’s cable offerings in Norfolk. Festival organizers said that if there is sufficient interest, a special showing of the RFD TV special may be presented in Norfolk at a later date.
Patrick Gottsch, the founder and president of RFD TV, met with festival representatives last year and agreed to produce a special because it represented the kind of clever, intelligent and clean comedy that was a staple of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” for 30 years.
“The festival is Norfolk’s way of paying tribute to the legacy of Johnny Carson and continuing what he greatly enjoyed doing — giving talented comedians a chance to shine,” said Kent Warneke, festival chairman.
This is the fifth year of the festival, which has grown in stature every year. A big part of that is the involvement of Eddie Brill, who is the warm-up comic for David Letterman and serves as the festival’s executive producer. He travels to 10-12 cities each year on the festival’s behalf to audition stand-up comedians and ends up inviting 20 of them to come to Norfolk each June.
Their names might not be immediately familiar, but they’re on the path to stardom, Brill says. Past participants in the festival have gone on to land their own television specials, perform on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, as well as landing television roles in situation comedies.
“We’re very excited about out festival — very funny people who put on a good show,” Warneke said. “The fact that our festival is being broadcast on RFD-TV is icing on the cake. It gives our festival great exposure and will provide some great entertainment for RFD-TV’s viewers.”