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Exclusive: Cox Gets Joke And Gives Viewers LAFF

Cox Media Group is getting in on the funny business.

The station group has agreed to air LAFF, the new multicast comedy network, in Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Charlotte and Dayton. LAFF previously announced carriage by stations owned by ABC and the E.W. Scripps Company and is now cleared in more than 47% of the country.

LAFF is being launched by Katz Broadcasting, which previously launched Grit, a network aimed at men, and Escape, which targets women viewers. Katz Broadcasting was founded by Jonathan Katz, a former Turner Broadcasting executive who is also the cofounder and COO of Bounce TV, a multicast network for African-Americans.

The network is scheduled to start up on April 15, the day income taxes are due and people will need something to make them smile.

"LAFF will be an ideal companion network for our Cox Media Group TV stations in these markets, providing our viewers with unique programming not found on any other network," Jane Williams, executive VP of television, Cox Media Group, said in a statement.

The Cox stations that will carry LAFF on a digital broadcast subchannel are WSB-TV, Atlanta; WFXT-TV, Boston; KIRO-TV, Seattle; WFTV, Orlando; WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh, WSOC-TV, Charlotte and WHIO-TV, Dayton.

"Station group interest in LAFF is strong," said Jeffrey Wolf, chief distribution officer for LAFF. "LAFF, and our other networks, Escape, Grit, as well as Bounce TV, will help station groups and owners grow and prosper in this new world as consumers combine over-the-air television with over-the-top services."

LAFF announced programming deals that give it the rights to air 800 episodes of sitcoms including The Drew Carey Show, Night Court, Ellen, Empty Nest and Grace Under Fire.