Though he cleared over a million dollars with his most recent stand-up special Live at the Beacon Theater, comedian Louis C.K. will return to the more traditional model of distribution for his next special -- namely, that it will air on HBO before the inevitable CD/DVD release.
The A.V. Club reports the comedy hour that C.K. tapes as part of his current sold-out tour will air on HBO some time next year. If you'll remember, CK was experimenting with distribution even before Live at the Beacon Theater: his 2010 special, Hilarious, was shot as a feature-length concert film and received limited theatrical distribution before debuting on the EPIX cable channel. It was Beacon Theater that looked like it was going to revolutionize stand-up comedy, though, with CK cutting out all middle men and pocketing the proceeds of every $5 download himself. It was such a successful model, in fact, that it inspired other comics, including Aziz Ansari and Jim Gaffigan, to follow suit and release their latest specials in the same way.
So what does it mean that CK is returning to HBO for his next special? Is he just trying to keep things interesting for himself? Could they have offered him more money than he made on Beacon Theater? Maybe. It doesn't really matter, as I'm not sure that there are any greater implications here. It's interesting that CK is one of the few comics with the clout to literally change the business and that he's going back to the way things have always been done, but that could very well be for only this special. All that matters is that there's a new Louis CK special coming in 2013, and I'll watch it no matter how it gets released. Unless it's on Showtime, because I don't subscribe. I know, I know -- Homeland.
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