Bip channel comedy stars - Yossi Zivkar
Yossi Zivkar Comedy stars of the Bip channel, soon to break out on its own. Photo by Yossi Zivkar
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The Bip comedy television channel will soon be transformed into an independent production and content company with twice its current budget, the channel announced yesterday. Up to now, Bip has positioned itself as a comedy station for younger viewers. Its programs have been broadcast by the HOT cable service provider for the past decade, but several months ago, the cable operator announced it would not be renewing its relationship with Bip, which is owned by Channel 2 franchisee Keshet.

HOT announced that Bip will be replaced by programming from the American Comedy Central channel to be supplemented by content produced in Israel. Bip said many of its current programs will be broadcast on Friday nights on Channel 2 and that a pilot of a night show has been produced for the Yes satellite television provider.

Bip will have its own website, which will be independent of its current host, Keshet's Mako site. The new site will concentrate on video clips and skits and will provide a forum for posting additional content.

Bip is also expected to open a Tel Aviv stand-up comedy club in the basement of London Ministores. The comedy club's content will be recorded and posted on the new website.

Sources suggest the break in the business relationship between Bip and HOT is the result of a dispute between Keshet and HOT shareholders.