AMC Networks said it has taken a majority stake in Levity Live, the owner of several live comedy venues across the country, operating under brands like Copper Blues, Levity Live and the recently acquired The Improv.
Levity Live also operates a talent management arm and has a proven track record in television production, including prime-time specials with big-name comics like Trevor Noah, Tracy Morgan, Margaret Cho, Sebastian Maniscalco and Gad Elmaleh.
In a statement, AMC said it sees the partnership as an opportunity to bring together its IFC alternative comedy brand – home to quirky hits like Documentary Now! and Brockmire – with Levity’s venues to "create a multi-dimensional and fan-focused experiential comedy platform that can encompass live and televised comedy, digital extensions, and the development of new content formats, talent and IP." The move follows AMC's November 2016 minority investment in Funny or Die, the digital comedy hub and production studio created by comedians and film producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay that reaches more than 60 million people globally.
“In an era of continuing disruption to old models, IFC now has format, IP ownership and talent opportunities that are best-in-class across live, digital and linear TV,” said IFC president Jennifer Caserta in a statement. “Just as our recent investment in Funny or Die allowed IFC to expand in the digital comedy space and explore new forms of content creation, this partnership with Levity Live connects our leading comedy brand with live venues across the country, opening up a world of new fan-focused and experiential opportunities as well as enhancing our ability to identify and cultivate emerging talent. Through this strategic partnership, we can further bring the IFC brand to life by forging direct, real-world connections with fans across TV, digital and now, live events.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“IFC’s strong comedy brand is a great partner for us,” said Levity Live CEO Alireza Ghaemian in a statement. “Levity’s growing universe of live entertainment venues, and our ability to identify the next generation of emerging comics and develop original content for multiple platforms complements IFC perfectly and we’re excited to explore new opportunities and continue to deliver a premium comedy experience.”