Canada's Bell Media Inks Multi-Year TV Deal With Montreal's Just For Laughs Fest

10:11 AM PST 06/29/2012 by Etan Vlessing

The Comedy Network pacts to air a slew of gala and club programming with performances by Bill Hader, Joel McHale, Jack McBrayer, Jeremy Hotz, Jason Jones, and John Pinette.

KARLOVY VARY, CZECH REPUBLIC - Canadian broadcaster Bell Media has signed a first-time multi-year TV series deal with Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival.

The agreement means the rival CBC will air fewer star-driven Just For Laughs galas in the future, leaving the field wide open for Bell Media’s Comedy Network, the country’s comedy cable channel, to air content from the annual July event.

Bell Media is pacting with Just For Laughs Television to shoot 13 hours of comedy programming at the festival next month.

The Just For Laughs gala series will include performances by Bill Hader, Joel McHale, Jack McBrayer, Jeremy Hotz, Jason Jones, and John Pinette.

The tie-up with the Comedy Network means the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, will this year air a two-hour Just For Laughs TV special, and another two one-hour specials after that.

That has the CBC airing Just For Laughs TV specials, rather than a series of Just For Laughs galas from the annual July festival in Montreal, which is now the focus of the Comedy Network.

“This new series will deliver the full festival experience to our viewers like never before – both galas and club performances,” Corrie Coe, senior vp of independent production at Bell Media, said of the multi-year deal and its output.

The upcoming 30th edition of the Just For Laughs festival includes performances by Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Bob Saget, Lewis Black, Jim Gaffigan, Patton Oswalt, Wayne Brady and Mario Cantone.

Just For Laughs has also programmed The Muppets All-Star Comedy Gala!, where the Disney characters return to their variety show roots and host an exclusive gala at the Place des Arts theater.

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