The Comedy Network Signs Just For Laughs to Massive, Multi-Year Television Series Deal

− The Muppets All-Star Comedy Gala highlights long list of new blockbuster galas hosted by Bill Hader, Joel McHale, Jack McBrayer, Jeremy Hotz, Jason Jones, and John Pinette
− 13 hours of all-star comedy series to be taped this July −

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TORONTO, June 28, 2012 /CNW/ - For the first time ever, The Comedy Network will broadcast the star-studded comedy galas from the 30th anniversary season of Montreal's Just For Laughs Festival, it was announced today. Produced in association with Just For Laughs Television, 13 hours of all-new comedy content will be shot at the festival this July to air on Comedy this fall, including the highly anticipated The Muppets All-Star Comedy Gala. Additional hosts of the new JUST FOR LAUGHS gala series include Bill Hader, Joel McHale, Jack McBrayer, Jeremy Hotz, Jason Jones, and John Pinette.

Today's announcement of Comedy's multi-year deal with Just For Laughs comes as the channel also orders 60 episodes of MATCH GAME, the new English-language revival of the classic game show. CTV also confirmed pilot orders for new half-hour scripted comedies SATISFACTION and SPUN OUT.

"We're delighted that our longstanding relationship with Just For Laughs has brought The Comedy Network exclusive programming with some of the biggest names in comedy today," said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. "This new series will deliver the full festival experience to our viewers like never before - both galas and club performances."

"We are thrilled to collaborate with The Comedy Network this summer on what will be the most ambitious television production in our Festival's history," said Bruce Hills, Chief Operating Officer of Just For Laughs. "The enormous wealth of comedians at this year's Festival requires us to shoot in not one, but two, iconic venues in the heart of downtown Montreal, during what will be our biggest and best Just For Laughs Festival ever."

The star-studded JUST FOR LAUGHS gala series will feature Comedy stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele (KEY & PEELE), as well as Canadian favourites Debra DiGiovanni (VIDEO ON TRIAL) and Caroline Rhea (HOLLYWOOD SQUARES). Additional stars include Chris D'Elia (CTV's WHITNEY), Mario Cantone (SEX AND THE CITY), Jay Pharoah (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), Jim Breuer (Half Baked), and international stars Danny Bhoy (from Scotland) and Tommy Tiernan (from Ireland).

Fresh from their triumphant return to the big screen in their self-titled feature film, The Muppets take Montreal in celebration of Just For Laughs 30th anniversary festival when they go back to their variety show roots in The Muppets All-Star Comedy Gala.

"Sharing the stage with the greatest comics in the world in front of the greatest comedy fans in the world is an incredible honour for The Muppets, and the highlight of Fozzie Bear's life," said Kermit the Frog. "In fact, Fozzie is so overwhelmed, he may not be able to stand up to do his stand-up."

Additional hosts of The Comedy Network's JUST FOR LAUGHS galas include:

Bill Hader
Those viewers who actually do call in sick to work can find plenty of inspiration for voices and characters by SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE star Bill Hader. A master of characters, accents and comedic versatility, see why this Not Ready for Prime Time funnyman has both feet planted firmly in the big time!

Joel McHale
With razorsharp wit and easy charm Joel McHale can be seen weekly on E!'s THE SOUP, where his smart, sardonic humour is on full display. One of Hollywood's most sought-after talents, McHale is also known for starring role as Jeff Winger in COMMUNITY.

Jack McBrayer
From appearances on LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, to his starring role on 30 ROCK, and performances at Second City and ImprovOlympic in Chicago, the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York, and the UCB and IO outposts in Los Angeles, Jack McBrayer is no stranger to the stage or screen. Most recently heard as one of the voices in Despicable Me, McBrayer has also appeared in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

Jeremy Hotz
One of Canada's most respected comedians, Jeremy Hotz is a true original. The former NEWSROOM star, who continues to electrify fans on both sides of the border with his distinct, improvisational comic style, infectious glee, and shrewd observations of daily life, returns to The Comedy Network.

Jason Jones
Born in Hamilton, ON, Jason Jones has appeared on THE DAILY SHOW, QUEER AS FOLK, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER and LAW & ORDER, and is part of the Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Bobroom. Joes hosted CRAFT CORNER DEATHMATCH and co-wrote, starred, and co-produced the film Ham & Cheese, with fellow Bobroom alumnus Mike Beaver.

John Pinette
Fresh off his newly-released fifth album, Still Hungry, the long-time festival favourite returns to his second home with a stellar line-up of deeply hilarious comics, including special guest Tommy Tiernan.

JUST FOR LAUGHS gala series is produced by Just For Laughs Television in association with The Comedy Network. Executive Producers are Bruce Hills, Andy Nulman, and Gilbert Rozon. Sarah Fowlie is Director, Independent Production, Comedy. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Catherine McLeod is Vice-President, Specialty Channels, Bell Media. Phil King is President, CTV Programming and Sports.

About the Just For Laughs Group
Founded in 1983, the Just For Laughs Group's growth is concentrated on four major focal points: Festivals (in Montreal, Toronto and Chicago); television production (most notably Gags seen in 135 countries and on 95 airlines); live shows (Canadian tour dates for Jerry Seinfeld, Jeremy Hotz, John Pinette, Louis C.K., the Capital One Just For Laughs Comedy Tour, North American dates for Family Guy Live!); and talent management. Its inaugural Montreal Festival 30 years ago is now the world's largest and most prestigious comedy event welcoming 2 million people each summer. The Group has offices in Montreal, Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, London and a small apartment on the Internet.

About The Comedy Network
Canada's first and favourite specialty comedy service, The Comedy Network airs comedy of all kinds, 24-hours-a-day, across multiple platforms, including a revolutionary broadband service at Launched in October 1997, The Comedy Network broadcasts, uncut and uncensored, an eclectic mix of scripted, stand-up, sketch, improv, and animated comedy - as well as topical comedy talk shows, game shows and classic situation comedies. The Comedy Network is a division of Bell Media, which is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company, and is available in nearly six million households across the country.

SOURCE Comedy Network

For further information:

Christy Sullivan, The Comedy Network, 416.384.3624 or


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