Dane Cook is going from standup to standout as HBO branches into nontraditional platforms.
The cabler has pacted with Cook to develop a scripted series, headline a feature-length standup special and star in the documentary skein “Tourgasm.”
In addition, he’ll create and star in content exclusive to nontraditional platforms for HBO. Cook will exec produce all projects through his production company SUperFInger Entertainment in association with New Wave Entertainment’s Barry Katz and Brian Volk-Weiss.
Network chair-CEO Chris Albrecht said Cook is a perfect fit for HBO. “His career is about to take off, and he’s the kind of talent that can exist in several spaces.”
Comedy has proved some of the most potent short-form content making the rounds, whether in viral videos online or on cell phones. Shortly after its launch on iTunes, Cook’s Comedy Central standup special became the most downloaded program on the service, vaulting past more traditional hits like “Lost.”
Cook’s standup feature will be shot at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston on April 15. Marty Callner (HBO’s “Rolling Stones: Live From Madison Square Garden”) will direct. “Tourgasm” follows Cook and comedians Gary Gulman, Robert Kelly and Jay Davis on their college tour last spring. Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh (Showtime’s “Family Business”) will executive produce along with Cook, Katz and Volk-Weiss.
Up until now, HBO has taken more of a wait-and-see approach to the new technologies. Albrecht described the new media as “nascent businesses” and, to date, has signed an exclusive multiyear deal with Cingular Wireless to create premium channels HBO Mobile and HBO Family Mobile — featuring content from current shows “The Sopranos,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Entourage,” “Rome” and “Deadwood” — for the service.
“Everyone’s out there planting their flags and there’s all this activity, but we still don’t know what we have here,” Albrecht said. “That said, we’re definitely interested in taking HBO into all these platforms in the appropriate time and way.”
Still, Albrecht disclosed Cook’s won’t be the first exclusive content to make its way to the mobile service. “There’ll be clips from shows, but also original material.”
Exec declined to elaborate on the type of content — behind-the-scene featurettes or deleted scenes, for example — but said an announcement would be made shortly. Service was slated to launch on Cingular in January but was delayed until mid-March.
Cook is in production on the Lionsgate feature “Employee of the Month,” opposite Jessica Simpson, and also will star in Disney’s “Dan in Real Life” with Steve Carell. Cook’s second comedy album, “Retaliation,” has sold more than 1 million copies and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard charts, making him the highest-charting comedian of the last 25 years.