Comedy collars ‘Blue’ 2

Standup sequel to preem on cabler

When “Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie” chalked up more viewers in March than any other pic in Comedy Central history, bankrolling a sequel became a no-brainer for the network.

That’s the word from senior VP of programming Kathryn Mitchell, who said that “Blue Collar Comedy Tour II Rides Again” will assemble the same four practitioners of redneck humor to update their standup routines: Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy.

Mitchell declined to discuss license fees, but Comedy Central will pony up $2 million for more than 30 runs of the movie over a five-year period, beginning sometime in the fourth quarter. By contrast, Comedy Central paid only $1 million to Warner Bros. for an exclusive four-year, 30-run deal to the first tour.

J.P. Williams, co-exec producer of both movies, said Paramount Home Video, not Warner Bros., will distribute the second one. Par and Comedy Central are sister companies under the Viacom umbrella.

Unlike the first tour movie, which saw a theatrical run in selected cities including Atlanta, Nashville, Baltimore, Dallas, Miami and St. Louis, the second will avoid the multiplexes, making its world preem on Comedy Central.

Williams, his co-exec producer Alan C. Blomquist and director CB Harding will film the performances July 30 and 31 at Denver’s Buell Theater.

“The success of the first ‘Blue Collar Tour’ film shows that Comedy Central appeals to a much broader audience than college fraternity boys,” said Mitchell.

The tour movies are appropriate for the network, she continues, because it schedules more standup comedy performances than any other cabler, setting aside the Friday primetime lineup every week for wall-to-wall standup.

Every time the net runs the first “Blue Collar,” it harvests big audiences. The movie’s first six primetime runs have all finished among the 10 most-watched movie plays in the channel’s history.

The web has signed with NBC for another summer season of the firstrun “Last Comic Standing,” hosted by Jay Mohr, and has bought two recent standup theatricals: “DysFunKtional Family,” starring Eddie Griffin, and “Runteldat,” with Martin Lawrence.