LOGO IS Silverman-Oriented

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Published March 5, 2009

Over the course of its first two seasons on Comedy Central, The Sarah Silverman Program has featured episodes in which the title character wet the bed, put on blackface, got deeply into marijuana, and had sex with God. But when it came time to make a deal for Season Three, Comedy Central asked Silverman to tackle something even more challenging: cutting the show’s budget by 20%. Last weekend, the cable channel told The Sarah Silverman Program‘s cast and crew that they were willing to renew the show for 10 more episodes, but only if they could drop the per-episode budget from $1.1 million to $850,000. Silverman’s team balked, but earlier this week the impasse ended when Comedy Central’s fellow Viacom channel Logo—home to GLBT-targeted programming—stepped up as a co-sponsor, and agreed to cover the budget gap.

Logo’s interest in The Sarah Silverman Program makes sense, given the show’s prominent gay characters and Silverman’s own take-a-backseat-to-no-man attitude, but the real mystery of the deal is how it’s possible a show this small in scale costs over a million bucks an episode to make. The cast is tiny (and made up of Silverman’s comedian friends, none of whom are household names), the action mostly takes place in two or three locations, and though some episodes have contained musical numbers and animated interludes, none have been especially elaborate. Still, Silverman’s one of the funniest women in America and The Sarah Silverman Program is frequently brilliant. Here’s hoping they take their extra money and apply it to the music and effects… and don’t just blow it all on weed.