In September, Comedy Central named Mitch Fried head of its new live-entertainment division, formally recognizing the multifaceted, multiplatform job he’d been performing for several years already. Through Fried’s division, the net can now cross-promote, support — and profit from — all aspects of a comic’s career, including everything from touring to DVD and other merchandise sales to on-air standup specials.
Take comedian Stephen Lynch’s upcoming tour, which will include stops in both the U.S. and Europe. Before Lynch embarks on his sojourn, Comedy Central will feature him on its “Friday Night Stand-up” skein, including promotional interstitials that highlight the tour. Then once the tour is launched, Comedy Central will shoot a standup special and DVD featuring the comedian, promoting both during the live shows.
The relationship is symbiotic, Fried says: Comedians now have a one-stop shop that allows them to leverage the promotional power of one of TV’s most powerful comedy brands, while Comedy Central becomes an even more attractive destination for top talent and can capitalize on aspects of the business beyond mere ratings points.