AOL has been struggling to convert itself into a top-tier ad-supported online content destination, and now the company is throwing itself into the late night comedy game, announcing that it will be launching its own late-night video block featuring exclusive content from The Adam Corolla Show, Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show, and Kevin Smith’s SModcast. AOL will be collecting the “best moments” from these shows—which are essentially podcasts—and putting them together in an exclusive nightly block at 10 AM ET. The move marks the latest effort from AOL to make itself into an appointment entertainment service that users want to connect to in real time.
“Phase one of our programming strategy is to build a block of content our audiences can expect day in and day out,” said AOL Media’s head of programming Amber J. Lawson, in a statement. “The powerhouse trio of Carolla, Pollak, and Smith is a great way to establish our late night programming leveraging their rabid built-in audiences to give new and loyal viewers alike a more immersive experience.”
AOL’s plan is to run original content at 10 PM ET Monday through Thursday, and then offer a best-of-the-week show on Fridays. Corolla’s and Pollack’s shows are essentially interview segments featuring discussions with celebrities and other notable people. Smith’s offering is more straight-up sketch comedy. The podcasts have substantial online audiences that AOL hopes to tap into with the offering; some of those audiences may spill over into AOL’s other online video offerings if they like what they see.
It’s not clear whether AOL has much of a shot of attracting viewers away from traditional late-night television programming…but, then again, AOL is scheduling the block against traditional late-night programming: it’s up against the end of prime time and early local news on the east coast, and traditional prime-time television programming in the rest of the United States. Given net-connected television fans’ tendency to surf the net while watching TV, AOL may just be catching its audience when they’re most likely to be looking for online entertainment.