It was Fox's answer to Saturday Night Live, except that it was pre-recorded and produced in Hollywood. MadTV was spun from the pages of the legendary---and still running---humor magazine, Mad, but with a cast that created new characters that have become just as memorable to fans of the series.
Like SNL, Mad's ensemble had quite a bit of turnover over the course of 14 seasons (1995-2009), but also introduced viewers to a number of performers who would go on to bigger things, including Nicole Sullivan (later of The King of Queens), Alex Borstein (Family Guy), Phil LaMarr, Will Sasso, Artie Lange (Game Over, The Howard Stern Radio Show), and the team of Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele, who just wrapped their Comedy Central series a few months back. Sasso and Sullivan are returning for the revival of the series, launching Tuesday on CW for 8 weeks. A 20th anniversary special, broadcast in January, got enough of a rating to warrant a revival.
Let's take a look at a sketch involving one of MadTV's most popular characters, Miss Swan (Borstein):
MadTV becomes the 2nd comedy series revived by CW that had aired on another network, with Whose Line is it Anyway? being the other. Coincidentally, the two will be coupled on Tuesdays to mark time until the fall season begins in October (CW historically starts later than the other networks).