NEW YORK, March 23, 2009 — COMEDY CENTRAL viewers can expect to hear a lot more from Jeff Dunham and his infamous characters, Walter, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Peanut, Bubba J and Jose Jalape±o on a Stick, over the next few years. The all-comedy network has signed Dunham to a wide-ranging, fully-integrated, multi-platform initiative which includes a series order, stand-up special, major-market stand-up tour, DVDs and a consumer products partnership, it was announced today by Lauren Corrao, president, original programming and development, COMEDY CENTRAL.
“We are thrilled to be in business with Jeff Dunham and to partner with him on this all-encompassing deal,” said Corrao. “After the extraordinary ratings from his Christmas special and huge DVD sales, we know that he connects with audiences, young and old. We’re ecstatic to have him represented on all our platforms and to give Jeff and his characters a permanent home on COMEDY CENTRAL.”
“I couldn’t have asked for a better home for my dysfunctional family than COMEDY CENTRAL,” said Dunham. “Who else but COMEDY CENTRAL would give a microphone to a dead terrorist in prime time”
“Together with COMEDY CENTRAL, we’ve enjoyed incredible success creating a global brand in Jeff Dunham,” says Robert Hartmann, Dunham’s manager and senior partner of Levity Entertainment. “We look forward to setting more record-breaking numbers.”
Hartmann, along with partners, Judi Brown-Marmel and Stu Schreiberg, have produced all of Jeff Dunham’s specials and will executive produce his new series.
Coming on the heels of Dunham’s record-setting 2008 stand-up special, “Jeff Dunham’s Very Special Christmas Special,” which drew 6.6 million viewers and stands as the most-watched telecast in COMEDY CENTRAL’s history, the multi-faceted deal calls for an original series based on his notorious characters to premiere during 1Q 2010 and a one-hour COMEDY CENTRAL Original Stand-up Special to air in early fall 2010, with COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment producing and distributing DVDs of both of the series and stand-up special, as well as a colossal, nationwide COMEDY CENTRAL Live stand-up concert tour with over 60 performances. The tour kicks off September 2010 and a major consumer products partnership in conjunction with the series and tour that will hit the marketplace in 2010. Each of the deal’s elements will feature unique components for reaching the COMEDY CENTRAL audience wherever it lives. This deal also opens the door to future digital projects with Dunham and comedycentral.com.
“By every conceivable measure, Jeff Dunham is America’s favorite comedian,” declares Slate.com in a recent profile. And according to the concert industry publication, Pollstar, Jeff is the top-grossing stand-up act in North America. He and his cast of characters have amassed legions of loyal fans across the country and internationally. The Dunham phenomenon is spreading to Europe, where he already tops the charts and will take his show for the first time this spring. A pop culture phenomenon, Dunham has sold over four million DVDs and has received more than 350 million views on YouTube, making him one of the most-viewed entertainers of all time. As well as having the most-watched telecast in COMEDY CENTRAL’s history, the DVD of Jeff Dunham’s “A Very Special Christmas Special” hit quadruple platinum (sales of over 400,000) in its first two weeks. His previous DVD, “Spark of Insanity,” received the best reviews of any DVD on Amazon.com in 2008.
His CD album, “Don’t Come Home for Christmas,” went to #1 on the iTunes CD sales chart as well as Top 10 on Billboard’s independent chart. Following his European visit, Dunham will be a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman” on April 24.
COMEDY CENTRAL, the only all-comedy network, currently is seen in more than 95 million homes nationwide. COMEDY CENTRAL is owned by, and is a registered trademark of, Comedy Partners, a wholly-owned division of Viacom Inc.’s (NYSE: VIA and VIA.B) MTV Networks. COMEDY CENTRAL’s Internet address is www.comedycentral.com. For up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs visit Press Central, COMEDY CENTRAL’s press web site at www.comedycentral.com/press.
MTV Networks, a unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), is one of the world’s leading creators of entertainment content, with brands that engage and connect diverse audiences across television, online, mobile, games, virtual worlds and consumer products. The company’s portfolio spans more than 150 television channels and 350 digital media properties worldwide, and includes MTV, VH1, CMT, Logo, Harmonix, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Noggin, The N, AddictingGames, Neopets, COMEDY CENTRAL, Spike TV, TV Land, Atom, Gametrailers and Xfire.