Debmar-Mercury will take out Tom Green Live, a weeknight hour that currently airs online at 8 p.m. (PST), for sale in coming weeks.
The plan is to roll out the show on a handful of stations, mainly in late-night time slots, and then try to grow its footprint. Debmar-Mercury did the same with Tyler Perry’s House of Pain, which originally debuted on 10 stations.
"That way we can let the show speak for itself instead of trying to sell a pilot first," said co-president Ira Bernstein.
The former MTV funnyman does the show out of the living room of his Los Angeles home, and he will continue to do so once it moves to television, although it may shoot an hour earlier. It will also continue to be broadcast live over his Web site, new territory for a talk show.
One recent version of Green’s Internet show drew 20,000 viewers live, but he said about 650,000 clips from the show were seen from YouTube to MySpace or downloaded on iTunes within days.
The show currently airs as an uninterrupted hour, but that will now change.
"It will be nice to have commercial breaks," Green said. "It means I can have multiple guests and have a nice transition in between, do fun bumps to the break and things like that."
The deal will also allow Green to expand his staff, as he plans on adding writers and already has a talent booker helping him land guests, who have ranged from Pamela Anderson to Bob Saget.
It also means he can shoot taped pieces, including remote shoots, heavy on the physical comedy he is often known for. "That will give me a chance to be a goofball and nimrod, which is what I like to do," he said.
Even with the big jump to television, he does not anticipate making too many cosmetic changes to the basic set in his living room. "The only thing we may add is some places to sit for people to watch the show live, maybe like 10 or 12 people," he said. "So I guess the budget is going up."
The deal was brokered by John Ferriter of William Morris Agency.