Comedy Wrap

Everything that is going on in the comedy world

Streamers Seeking Sitcoms

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Sitcoms

Comcast, Disney and WarnerMedia are racing to stand up their direct to consumer streaming services by 2020. Their respective parent companies have made millions licensing their content especially classic sitcoms from the last 25 years to linear broadcast stations and cable networks.

The tides have turned because more consumers are fed up with their high cable bills and opting to cut the cord. Fall of 2014 Nielsen Media estimated about 116.4 million US TV households and 97.8 million received their TV signals via cable or satellite. Four years later, roughly 93.5 million of 119.9 million total US TV households were getting their services from either cable or satellite. That difference from 97.8 million to 93.5 million households translates to more than 10 million people. Over the same four-year period, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon could be found in less than half of all US TV homes, but in 2018 the number of subscriptions to these services jumped to three-fourths of all TV homes. That’s a significant audience shift.

Giant entertainment companies were asleep at the wheel and are now racing to stand up their own streaming services and reduce their reliance on Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu. But why are they buying up these sitcoms?

According to VOX, 7% of all Netflix viewing was for the sitcom “The Office”. Wedbush Securities Media Analyst, Michael Pachter says older, popular entertainment properties are still mainstays for these companies. He points out… “There is a lot of security in knowing that 20 or 30 million people have viewed a particular series, so you know that it has appeal.” Add to that. . sitcoms don’t have to be watched in order making it easier for viewers to tune in and follow along.

Ironically, these entertainment companies will fork over hundreds of millions (some of these shows are fetching over $400 million) for their own content for their yet-to-launch platforms. So, how will consumers be able to watch your favorite sitcoms? It depends on what sitcom they want to watch.

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Friends, The Office, Seinfeld and The Big Bang Theory are scoring deals north of $400 million from these new streamers: Comcast’s Peacock, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and Netflix.

Netflix spent over $500 million to get global rights for Sony TV’s Seinfeld for the next five years. Sony TV struck another a rich syndication deal to move Seinfeld’s basic cable rights from its longtime home at Turner to Viacom in 2020. All this for a show about nothing … not that there’s anything wrong with that" Stay tuned.

Will Farrell Launches Podcast Network

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Set to launch in 2020, Will Ferrell new podcasting company, “Big Money Players Network” will debut on iheartpodcast network. His new company plans to drop 10 new comedy podcasts over the next two years and Ferrell will serve as one of the executive producers. It will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network and elsewhere online.

Stay Classy!

The Big Money Players Network will revolve around top comedic talent in both a scripted and unscripted format. “Will Ferrell is one of the greatest comedians of our lifetime, and the unique synergy between Will and iHeartMedia will continue to lead us in accomplishing even more great audio content together,” said Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network.

Apparently, he’s been having a lot of fun hosting and producing ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast’, playing off his iconic Anchorman character has been greenlit for two-season that will have 12 episodes. “The iHeartPodcast Network has been such a pleasure to work with. I love hanging out in the offices and I’ve only been yelled at once for using someone’s computer, which I shouldn’t have done,” Ferrell joked in his own statement.

Eddie Murphy Returns!

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Fall 2019 looks very promising for Eddie Murphy fans as he embarks on a series of projects that will remind fans why they’ve been his fans for the last three decades and win over a new generation of fans.

Asked why he’s coming back in a funny R-rated movie…“I didn’t want to just pop back up. I wanted a funny movie to remind them that they (fans) liked me. This movie turned out so strong that I figured this is a great way to come back.”

His first Netflix movie, “Dolemite Is My Name” will be available on October 25. It’s receiving rave reviews for his portrayal of Rudy Ray Moore.


For those unfamiliar with Moore, he was a struggling performer who developed a unique comedian persona called Dolemite — a rapping, wildly dressed, pimp-like character with a raunchy act that was definitely not ready primetime. This biopic will follow his journey from unknown comic to Moore becoming one of the first blaxploitation stars of the 1970s. Check out the trailer.

In December, he’ll return to host SNL for the first time in 35 years! General consensus among SNL fans is that he is one of the greatest cast members in the show’s history. His body of work on SNL is legendary and probably the best place to showcase his incredible talent for impressions, timing and unique characters that injected a racial social POV to the show. He managed to be funny and cool at the same time - first ‘Rock n Roll’ comedian - who dominated the stand-up comedy world in the 1980s and movie stardom for the next three decades.


In some interviews promoting Dolemite, he teases he’ll bring back some of his iconic characters – Mister Robinson, Gumby and maybe Buckwheat!


After SNL, he will revisit some of more his iconic movie characters – Prince Akeem in Coming to America sequel followed by Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop 4.

Finally in 2020, he will make good on his word and return to stand up. Apparently, he’s been working on material for the last three years and may be ready to start workshopping it to get it ready for a comedy tour and Netflix comedy special. Hopefully he won’t wear a leather suit. Can’t wait!