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AMC Networks Buys Stake in Funny or Die

AMC Networks has acquired a minority ownership stake in Funny Or Die, which it says will allow “two strong, leading comedy brands to expand their collaboration and create smart, culturally relevant comedy across television, digital and social platforms.”

AMC Networks did not specify the size of the stake or the amount of the investment. Funny Or Die will continue to operate independently.

IFC is part of AMC Networks; it and Funny Or Die have collaborated in the past and do so again on upcoming series Brockmire. Starring Hank Azaria as a fast-talking sports announcer from another era, Brockmire started as a Funny or Die short. 

With the investment, IFC president Jennifer Caserta will be joining the Funny Or Die board.

“Both IFC and Funny Or Die have a proven track record of producing breakout content,” said Caserta. “The ability to work together more closely and increase our commitment to delivering more content on all platforms makes for an extremely significant partnership for both companies, and for the millions of fans of our comedy. It also marks a small, but important, first step towards my ultimate goal of appearing on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis.”

The principals say the investment leverages IFC’s strength in traditional TV and Funny Or Die’s powerful digital and social presence. According to AMC Networks, possible collaborations are likely to include Funny Or Die-branded programming blocks on IFC and additional original content development for television and digital platforms, along with ad sales opportunities.

“This is really the perfect partnership for us, because we get to work closely with a brand and team at IFC that we trust and respect, while also staying true to the irreverent, independent vision of our founders, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay,” said Mike Farah, CEO of Funny Or Die. “This move will be great business for both of our companies as we capitalize on our combined audiences, our complementary platforms, and our premium content. It will also be great for my wardrobe, because AMC Networks’ President and CEO Josh Sapan has been sending me these really nice shirts, and I hope that continues now that we’ve closed the deal.”

Added Ferrell and McKay, “We met on Tinder, things moved fast, and now we’re getting married.”

IFC series include sketch comedy show Portlandia, faux documentary series Documentary Now!, way-offbeat talker Comedy Bang! Bang! and new horror/comedy Stan Against Evil

Funny or Die launched in 2007, founded by Gary Sanchez Productions (Ferrell, McKay and Chris Henchy) and Creative Artists Agency. Judd Apatow is also a partner.