By Sahil Patel
“Joke or Choke,” a half-hour stand-up comedy special from executive producer Howie Mandel, will debut on CTV Extend on July 15.
CTV Extend is an online video destination launched by Canadian broadcaster CTV in April. The platform includes a slew of original and companion digital series and one-off content, much like what CW Seed is for The CW in the US.
As part of a larger original programming expansion, CTV commissioned “Joke or Choke” as an exclusive half-hour digital pilot in June.
Hosted by Jonny Harris (“Murdoch Mysteries”), the program takes four comedians from Canada and pits them in a three-round competition in front of a live studio audience and judge Mark Forward (“The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson”). An added wrinkle in the competition is that the comics are given a topic to do a set on with very little time to prepare or test their material. Comics competing in the pilot’s competition include Steve Dylan, Amanda Brooke Perrin, Daniel Woodrow, and Fraser Young.
The pilot is produced by Insight Productions in partnership with Mandel and Bell Media, which owns CTV.
Insights discovered the show/concept during its annual Pilot Week, which it describes as a grassroots search for Canada’s next great TV comedy. Held at Toronto’s Comedy Bar, the six-day event features approximately 20 comedy pilots performed live on stage. Previous competitions have resulted in six shows being picked up for development.
“Joke or Choke” was created by Craig Brown, who also co-produces. Executive producers include Mandel, John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby, and Mike Marks, with Shannon Farr serving as supervising producer and.
In addition to CTV Extend, the “Joke or Choke” pilot will be available on CTV.ca and the CTV Go mobile app. Other “Joke or Choke”-related content from comedians Eric Andrews, Matt O’Brien, Pat Thornton, and Christina Walkinshaw will be available on CTX Extend. The first batch of extras will be released on July 22, followed by more clips on July 29 and August 5.