'Larry' also heads straight to DVD

The Blue Collar gang of comics has landed a multiyear development deal at Paramount.

Paramount Home Entertainment has signed Parallel Entertainment Pictures to a multiyear first-look deal involving six more straight-to-DVD programs, including a third “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” disc; a feature film; plus a project already in development, “Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector.”

Consumers have spent more than $82 million on DVDs featuring the standup comedy show featuring comedians Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Bill Engvall and Ron White, according to Daily Variety sister publication DVD Exclusive.

In conjunction with the deal, Par homevid is developing a comedy label dedicated to the growing category segment. Studio has enjoyed success in this arena beginning with “Queens of Comedy” in 2001. Titles slated for release under the new venture will include the third “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” “P. Diddy’s Bad Boys of Comedy” series as well as George Lopez’s “Why Are You Crying?”

“Our new comedy label will allow us to attract new talent, expand our existing business and provide a great sales and marketing platform for new comedy content,” said Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures worldwide home entertainment.

Consumers spent $34 million last year on the original DVD premiere of “The Blue Collar Comedy Tour” released in June 2003 by Warner Home Video. An additional $33 million has been spent on Par’s December release of “The Blue Collar Comedy Tour Rides Again,” which galloped to sales of 1 million copies in the first week of release, faster than any previous standup comedy disc. It has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date.

Parallel CEO J.P. Williams has produced 18 comedy albums.

Image Entertainment’s “Larry the Cable Guy: Git-R-Done” has generated about $15 million in consumer spending.

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