HBO buys stake in Ferrell’s Funny or Die

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. That’s what executives at HBO must ‘ve said after This Just In, a comedy website developed jointly with AOL, shut down last year. Today, the cable network announced it had bought a small stake in Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die. Launched two years ago, Ferrell’s site combines user-submitted video with celebrity submissions from the likes of Judd Apatow, Vince Vaughn and Ferrell himself, and according to Variety has averaged about 3.2 million unique visitors per month during the past few months (numbers that in all likelihood dwarfed those of its onetime rival). As part of the deal, Funny or Die will develop 10 half-hour episodes of programming for HBO, and there is talk of working together on live comedy tours or even a programming block on one of HBO’s channels.

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