Laughing all the way

DEN and Oedekerk seal 3-year content deal

Digital Entertainment Network is about to get a little funnier.

The Gen-Y Netcaster has inked a three-year content deal with Steve Oedekerk (“Patch Adams,” “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”) under which the writer-director will create four original series for DEN in exchange for seven figures in cash and stock options as well as distribution of his own portfolio of Web sites.

Under terms of the licensing deal, Oedekerk will create an animated series featuring characters from his own slate of online shows, including “Thumbwrestling” and “Dirk Derby Wonder Jockey,” for DEN to distribute some time in the coming months.

Santa Monica-based DEN will distrib Oedekerk’s three entertainment Web sites, Ochannel.com, Oedekerk.com and Thumb.com, enabling DEN to connect directly to Oedekerk’s established fan base.

DEN beat out several other Netcasters, including Pop.com, for the rights to the comedian’s properties.

Deal is expected to mark the first in a series of celeb-based announcements in the coming months from the well-financed, newly managed but once struggling Netcaster. Pact follows a programming deal inked with Carrie Fisher. And former MGM prexy Frank Mancuso recently joined DEN’s board.

New deals should boost the Netcaster’s offerings, which already include a slate of original teen-targeted and interactive TV shows.

“Steve is an incredible talent and a giant in the entertainment industry,” DEN CEO Greg Carpenter said. “We’re thrilled to partner his new series and comedy channels with our own original and interactive content to deliver a collection of truly outstanding entertainment.”

Oedekerk most recently developed O Entertainment, a company that distribs original Oedekerk-created programming on the ‘Net, including the Thumbmation short animated films. “Thumb Wars” and “The Blair Thumb” will bow in a few months.

The hyphenate next directs and stars in the comedy “The Dubbed Action Movie” for 20th Century Fox, skedded for release in the fall, and he’s also producing and directing an untitled animated pic for Fox Feature Animation and producing “Jimmy Neutron” for Paramount and Nickelodeon.

Oedekerk has helmed “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” and “Ace Ventura Two: When Nature Calls” and scripted “Patch Adams” and “The Nutty Professor.” He also starred in and produced NBC’s “Steve.Oedekerk.com” special.

“O Entertainment has found the perfect partner in DEN to bring groundbreaking comedy content to the Internet,” Oedekerk said. “I like them all as people and they don’t mind that I work completely naked.”

The William Morris Agency brokered the deal for Oedekerk.

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