Channel 4 embraces ‘Big Bang’

Comedy picked up at L.A. Screenings

LONDON — British hybrid pubcaster Channel 4 hopes to enhance its reputation for cutting-edge laffers by buying Warner Bros. comedy “Big Bang Theory.”

The skein, acquired by C4 at the L.A. Screenings and likened to the 1990s BBC hit sitcom “Men Behav-ing Badly,” stars Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons. The British web, whose sister digital channel, youth-skewed E4, still runs “Friends” repeats, has made no secret of its desire to buy U.S. comedies — despite having warned that inflated prices risk putting high-profile imports beyond C4’s reach.

Warner Bros. Intl. Television prexy Jeffrey Schlesinger hailed “Big Bang Theory” as a “funny and in-sightful mass-appeal series that will play to all demographics.”

As part of the same Warners package, C4 acquired U.K. rights to the next two seasons of teen drama “One Tree Hill,” to air on E4, and exclusive renewal rights to “The Closer,” broadcast on the upscale More4.

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