AMC, which announced the deal on Tuesday, said the stake could lead to new arrangements such as “Funny or Die”-branded programming blocks on IFC, as well as additional TV and digital development, and joint advertising sale arrangements.
Funny or Die is behind IFC’s upcoming comedy “Brockmire,” starring Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet, and also produced the miniseries “The Spoils of Babylon” for the channel.
Funny or Die will continue to operate independently and produce for other outlets. The company is behind shows such as TruTV’s “Billy on the Street,” Comedy Central’s “@midnight,” the digital series “Between Two Ferns” and comedy specials such as “Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles.”
The new deal gives IFC additional heft as the comedy space continues to get more crowded. Not only are streaming sites like Seeso entering the mix, but networks like TruTV have refocused on scripted comedy, while stars like Louis C.K. have started marketing their wares directly to audiences on their own websites. Digital behemoths Netflix and Amazon have also expanded their investment in laughs, while major cable networks like HBO and FX have also firmed up their comedy stable this year.
“IFC has established itself as a television network and influential comedy brand able to leverage cultural relevance and both critical and popular acclaim to attract top talent and creators,” said IFC President Jennifer Caserta, who joins the Funny or Die board as part of the deal. “Both IFC and Funny Or Die have a proven track record of producing breakout content. The ability to work together more closely and increase our commitment to delivering more content on all platforms makes for an extremely significant partnership for both companies, and for the millions of fans of our comedy. It also marks a small, but important, first step towards my ultimate goal of appearing on ‘Between Two Ferns’ with Zach Galifianakis.”
Funny or Die CEO Mike Farah said he appreciated the fact that the deal balances working with IFC with “staying true to the irreverent, independent vision of our founders, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. This move will be great business for both of our companies as we capitalize on our combined audiences, our complementary platforms, and our premium content.”
IFC programming includes “Portlandia,” “Documentary Now,” “Stan Against Evil,” and “Comedy Bang! Bang!”
Next up, “Brockmire,” which premieres in 2017, stars Azaria as a former Major League Baseball announcer who has a breakdown, and returns 10 years later to call minor league games. Peet plays the owner of the team. The series is based on Azaria’s Funny or Die shorts.