Standup deal for ‘Blue’

Comedy net pays $1 mil for 4-year window

NEW YORK — Comedy Central has paid Warner Bros. Pictures $1 million to buy a four-year exclusive window to “Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie.”

Warner Bros. released the movie in January in selected cities including Atlanta, Nashville, Baltimore, Dallas, Miami and St. Louis, aimed at audiences who go for Southern redneck humor.

Like Paramount’s “The Original Kings of Comedy” (2000), “Blue Collar” consists of four standup comics — in this case Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall , Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy — filmed during performances before a live audience.

With the $1 million license fee, Comedy Central has bought out not only the basic-cable window but pay TV as well. Comedy Central gets the movie in November for 30 runs through November 2007.

While declining to comment on dollar figures, Kathryn Mitchell, senior VP of programming for Comedy Central, said “Blue Collar” will go over well with her audience, which has become used to a heavy diet of standup comedy on the network.

Standup takes over the schedule from 8 p.m. to midnight every Friday, and Comedy Central buys lots of concert movies featuring the likes of Chris Rock, Dennis Leary and Martin Lawrence. The network previously bought the cable rights to both “The Original Kings of Comedy” and “The Original Queens of Comedy.”

One of the advantages to “Blue Collar,” said Mitchell, is that it’s rated PG-13, not R. The Southern comedians go relatively easy on the profanity, which means Comedy Central will be able to run “Blue Collar” relatively uncut, without the massive quantity of soundtrack bleeps most standup comedy requires and most Comedy Central viewers hate.

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