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Updated, 2 p.m.: National Lampoon president Alan Donnes tells The Hollywood Reporter that the organization has nothing to do with the planned A+E Studios show. He notes that the studio does not have the rights to use the National Lampoon name or any of its offshoots, and that his attempts to reach individuals at A+E Studios have been ignored. Donnes notes that National Lampoon participated in the Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead documentary and offered producers rights to its brand and history, but that does not extend to doing the follow-up TV series the studio is planning. National Lampoon is currently teaming with Netflix for A Futile and Stupid Gesture, a feature film based on co-founder Douglas Kenney as the company looks for a brand ambassador to help mine National Lampoon’s rich history for both TV and film projects. “A+E has no rights; they can’t say ‘National Lampoon’ at all,” Donnes tells THR, noting there could be litigation if the A+E project interferes with other projects in the works at National Lampoon.
Previous, 11 a.m.: A+E Studios is taking a page from its indie feature films arm.
The studio is developing a scripted dramedy inspired by Douglas Tirola’s History Films-produced documentary feature film Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead will be developed and produced in association with 4th Row Films, marking A+E Studios’ first scripted development inspired by its feature documentaries as a primary source material. A network is not yet attached.
Amid the seismic cultural shift of the 1970s, American comedy got a sharper edge when a newly minted magazine named National Lampoon stuck its middle finger up at the establishment. Spawned at an Ivy League school by the wonderfully warped minds of Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard, National Lampoon rose from a counterculture rag to a revered comic institution. Director Tirola conducted extensive interviews with all the magazine’s key living editors, writers and artists and unearthed never-before-seen archival footage in his feature documentary, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and aired in January on History. Magnolia Pictures distributed the film in theaters. Tirola and Mark Monroe penned the feature.
THR‘s John DeFore called the feature “a lively, very entertaining look at the Lampoon’s unlikely empire.”
Matty Simmons, who co-founded the National Lampoon magazine in 1970, will serve as consulting producer on Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead after producing National Lampoon features Animal House and the Vacation series. He also wrote If You Don’t Buy This Book We’ll Kill This Dog: Life, Laughs, Love and Death at the National Lampoon.
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead will be executive produced by Tirola and co-executive produced by Susan Bedusa for their 4th Row Films. Simmons will serve as consulting producer. A+E Studios and producers are currently meeting with showrunners and expect to bring the fully packaged project to market soon.
Watch the trailer for the feature, below.
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