Press release from Katz Broadcasting, March 17, 2015:
Continuing to assemble impressive programming assets as it prepares to debut on April 15, the country’s first-ever, over-the-air broadcast television network devoted to comedy – LAFF – today announced three individual film licensing agreements that will bring the network some of the biggest comedic stars and performances of recent times. The agreements are with Sony Pictures Television, The Walt Disney Studios and Miramax.
Stars and titles headed to LAFF from the Sony Pictures Television library include: Jerry Maguire starring Tom Cruise; Tom Hanks in Sleepless in Seattle, Punchline and Nothing in Common, which co-stars Jackie Gleason; Gleason’s classic pairing with Richard Pryor in The Toy; Pryor and Gene Wilder teaming for Stir Crazy; Steel Magnolias starring Julia Roberts; Robin Williams in The Fisher King and Moscow on the Hudson; Steve Martin in Roxanne and Mixed Nuts; John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as Neighbors and also This is Spinal Tap, About Last Night, St. Elmo’s Fire, Look Who’s Talking Too and Look Who’s Talking Now.
Library movies from The Walt Disney Studios include: Splash, starring Tom Hanks; Robin Williams and John Travolta in Old Dogs; Ellen DeGeneres chasing Mr. Wrong; Jungle 2 Jungle, starring Tim Allen and Martin Short; Eddie Murphy as The Distinguished Gentleman; John Cusack in High Fidelity and Grosse Pointe Blank as well as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and its sequel Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Cool Runnings, Mr. 3000 and The Ref.
Films and stars from the iconic Miramax library include: Kevin Smith’s breakthrough comedy Clerks; Flirting With Disaster, starring Ben Stiller; Keeping Up With The Steins with Jeremy Piven and Cheryl Hines; Kristen Stewart, Kristen Wiig, and Bill Hader in Adventureland; Robert Altman’s Pret-A-Porter, with Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins; an all-star cast in Beautiful Girls; Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler and Jason Biggs in Jersey Girl; Matthew Broderick in The Night We Never Met and William H. Macy and Steve Zahn in Happy, Texas.
LAFF recently landed 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 will broadcast all nine seasons of both The Drew Carey Show and Night Court from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; Two series from The Disney/ABC Television Group – Ellen DeGeneres’ first sitcom Ellen and all seven seasons of Empty Nest – and Grace Under Fire starring Brett Butler from Carsey-Werner.
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 companion digital content will be available at LAFF.com and via the LAFF app.
LAFF already has three 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; Cox Media Group will air LAFF on its stations in Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Dayton; and the E.W. Scripps Company will launch LAFF in Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa, Denver, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Baltimore, San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati, West Palm Beach, Buffalo and Tulsa. These initial agreements make LAFF available to 47% of the country, with more distribution additions to be announced shortly.
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 Broadcasting was established in 2014 by Bounce TV founder/COO and former Turner Broadcasting executive Jonathan Katz. 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.