Exclusive: Laff Network Acquires Sitcom Lineup

Laff, the new multicast network focused on comedy, said it acquired rights to five long-running sitcoms that it will air when it launches on April 15.

The network said it now has 800 total episodes from the series The Drew Carey Show, Night Court, Ellen, Empty Nest and Grace Under Fire.

"These are iconic series featuring some of the funniest comedic talents and memorable characters of our time," Jonathan Katz, president and CEO of Katz Broadcasting, said in a statement.  "We're assembling an all-star comedy line-up and will be announcing more acquisitions shortly."

Katz Broadcasting has put together several multicast networks. Its Grit is aimed at men, while Escape is aimed at women. Jonathan Katz is also COO of Bounce TV, which serves African-American viewers.

Laff plans to program a mix of contemporary off-net sitcoms and theatrical motion pictures to reach an audience of adults 18 to 49.

The network has already reached agreements to be carried by stations owned by ABC and The E.W. Scripps Company. Together those stations cover 35% of the U.S.

The Drew Carey Show and Night Court are from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Ellen and Empty Nest are from the Disney/ABC Television Group. Grace Under Fire is from Carsey Werner Productions.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.