leaps to TV in new HBO se­ries

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS -

miere of The Ricky Ger­vais Show, the start of sea­son eight of Real Time With Bill Ma­her and the sec­ond sea­son of The Life and Times of Tim.

Funny or Die Presents is the fruition of a deal hatched in 2008 be­tween the site and HBO, which pur­chased a piece of Fun­ny­OrDie.com re­port­edly in the neigh­bour­hood of about $10 mil­lion. There’s fur­ther over­lap in that HBO airs the McKay and Fer­rell-pro­duced hit East­bound & Down, which is prep­ping a sec­ond sea­son.

Funny or Die Presents rep­re­sents an in­creas­ingly com­mon fu­sion be­tween web-cre­ated con­tent and tele­vi­sion. When the se­ries was an­nounced, Fer­rell sar­cas­ti­cally as­serted the deal was the miss­ing link mo­ment where TV and In­ter­net fi­nally merge.”

“The show is in­tro­duced by a 1950s-style TV host who in­tones: Funny or Die is at the fore­front of com­puter tech­nol­ogy, lead­ing the way in com­puter com­edy pro­gram­ming. Tonight marks a de­par­ture from our usual busi­ness model as we join the ever-de­clin­ing world of broad­cast tele­vi­sion.”

McKay, best known as the di­rec­tor of come­dies such as An­chor­man: The Leg­end of Ron Bur­gundy and Step Broth­ers, says that joke is “70 per cent true and 30 per cent jok­ing.”

When Fun­ny­OrDie.com launched, it was rare in its com­bi­na­tion of pro­fes­sion­ally cre­ated con­tent ( from Fer­rell, McKay and their Hol­ly­wood friends) and user-gen­er­ated videos that, if deemed funny enough by view­ers, could com­pete with the pros.

It has had some mam­moth hits, such as The Land­lord (nearly 70 mil­lion views) and the beloved se­ries Be­tween Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis. It has of­ten cap­i­tal­ized on the news cy­cle by rapidly cre­at­ing timely videos. Videos sub­mit­ted by users have been far less likely to find vi­ral suc­cess, but McKay be­lieves the con­tri­bu­tions have got­ten way bet­ter.”

Funny or Die Presents isn’t the next Satur­day Night Live — it’s some­what slight, un­abashedly cheap pro­gram­ming. McKay de­scribes it as the least noted or de­vel­oped TV show that’s maybe ever been put on.”

“The whole con­cept of Funny or Die ... was the idea that peo­ple could have a place to put up what­ever they wanted to put up with no notes and no fil­ter,” McKay says. The TV show came out of that same spirit.”

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