Television

HBO signs stand-up comedian Dane Cook to multi-project deal

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MUMBAI: HBO has signed stand-up comedian Dane Cook to a multi-faceted deal that will include series, specials and other projects, it was announced by HBO chairman and CEO Chris Albrecht.

Among the initial projects under the agreement are a feature-length stand-up film, development of a scripted series and a comedy documentary series. In addition, HBO will have exclusive rights to Cook for all nontraditional media platforms.

Cook will executive produce all projects with Barry Katz and Brian Volk-Weiss through his production company, SUperFInger Entertainment, in association with New Wave Entertainment.

"Dane Cook is one of the most exciting comedy stars to emerge on the scene in many years, and his ability to connect with audiences is truly remarkable. HBO will be able to give this gifted performer the broadest, most unrestricted showcase for his talent, and we're delighted to welcome him to the network," said Albrecht.

"This is a dream come true. HBO is the highest echelon in the world for a stand-up comedian to attain. Throughout my career I've trusted my instincts to lead me down the right path, and I am honored to work together with this network while contributing to the legacy that is HBO," said Cook.

Cook will shoot his stand-up concert film, directed by Marty Callner (the HBO specials Rolling Stones: Live from Madison Square Garden and Robin Williams: Live on Broadway), at the TD Banknorth Garden in Cook's hometown of Boston on 15 April.

The first show completely sold out through his website presale in 72 hours, setting a new box-office record; a second show was then added and sold out more quickly than the first, racking up an unprecedented 35,000 tickets in five days with no advertising.

Cook will also star in the comedy documentary series Tourgasm, following Cook and three other comedians (Gary Gulman, Robert Kelly and Jay Davis) last spring on their college tour, which covered 20 shows in 30 days across 28 states. Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh (Family Business) will executive produce along with Cook, Katz and Volk-Weiss.

In addition, Cook and HBO will develop a pilot for a scripted HBO comedy series. Other projects will be announced as they are confirmed.

Cook recently hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, which was the highest-rated episode of the season. His second comedy album, Retaliation, debuted at number four on the Billboard charts, making him the highest-charting comedian of the last 25 years. Retaliation has also earned platinum status, surpassing the near-gold status of his first release, Harmful If Swallowed.

Earlier this year, Cook started shooting Employee of the Month, with Jessica Simpson, for Lions Gate and will follow that with Disney's Dan in Real Life, with Steve Carell.

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