Friday, February 13, 2015

New Comedy Broadcast Network LAFF Licenses Sitcoms 'The Drew Carey Show,' 'Night Court,' 'Ellen,' 'Empty Nest' and 'Grace Under Fire'


LAFF, the country’s first-ever, over-the-air broadcast television network devoted to comedy around-the-clock set to launch on April 15, 2015, made the first in what-will-be a series of programming acquisition announcements today, landing the broadcast television rights to more than 800 episodes of some of the most popular sitcoms in contemporary television.

In the three individual, multi-year licensing agreements, LAFF licenses:

All nine seasons of both The Drew Carey Show (233 episodes) and Night Court (193 episodes) from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

Two series from The Disney/ABC Television Group: Ellen DeGeneres’ first sitcom Ellen (109 episodes) and all seven seasons of Empty Nest (170 episodes).

Grace Under Fire (112 episodes) starring Brett Butler from Carsey-Werner Productions.

“These are iconic series featuring some of the funniest comedic talents and memorable characters of our time,” commented Jonathan Katz, President and CEO of Katz Broadcasting. “We’re assembling an all-star comedy line-up and will be announcing more acquisitions shortly.”

LAFF will feature a mix of contemporary off-network sitcoms and popular theatrical motion pictures, with a target audience of adults 18-49. The LAFF brand will cross multiple platforms, with the linear network carried on the signals of local broadcast television stations and corresponding cable carriage while a selection of companion digital content will be available at LAFF.com and via the LAFF app.

The newly-announced LAFF already has two major distribution agreements in place. The ABC Owned Television Stations will carry LAFF in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh and Fresno. The E.W. Scripps Company will also launch LAFF on its stations in Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa, Denver, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Baltimore, San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Buffalo and Tulsa.

These initial agreements will make LAFF available to more than 35% of the country, with more distribution additions expected to be announced shortly.

LAFF is owned and operated by Katz Broadcasting, established in 2014 by Bounce TV founder/COO and former Turner Broadcasting executive Jonathan Katz. LAFF joins GRIT, the first broadcast network targeting men, and ESCAPE, the first over-the-air network designed for women, in the Katz Broadcasting portfolio. Katz is President and CEO of the company while also still serving as COO of Bounce TV, the nation’s first and only over-the-air television network for African Americans.

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