Lock up your kitties, America. Trailer Park Boys is getting a second shot at a U.S. audience.
U.S. rights to the long running Canadian comedy about a hard drinkin' group of East Coast misfits have been acquired by the satellite television service DirecTV. The deal, reported online by Bill Carter in The New York Times Friday, is part of a move by DirecTV to create a HBO-like premium service. Seventeen million subscribers already have access to the channel, which previously carried soaps and game shows.
Kind of ironic that a U.S. satellite provider is reaching across the border for Trailer Park Boys after Canadian cable boss Jim Shaw kept holding it up as an example of all that was wrong with the Canadian cable and satellite television funding system.
Besides TPB, DirecTV will air Friday Night Lights (a series it helped to sustain through a second window deal with NBC) as well as reruns of the Showtime series Sleeper Cell plus the little seen ABC series Wonderland, which was set in a psychiatric hospital. The series was quickly canceled after it premiered in 2000. DirecTV plans to air several episodes that were never broadcast.
Trailer Park Boys tried to crack the U.S. market several years ago when BBC America carried it for a season. Seems the exploits of Ricky, Julian and Bubbles were either too much or simply a bad fit for BBC America's subscribers. After seven successful seasons on Showcase, the series is out of production in Canada. A second feature, however, tentatively titled "Countdown to Liquor Day," is expected to hit Canadian theatres later this year.
News of the TV deal follows a report in Variety that the first TPB film, Trailer Park Boys: The Big Dirty, has finally landed a U.S. distribution deal. It's due to be released this weekend in New York and L.A., with a wider U.S. release to follow in February.
But why wait for the films? You can catch John Paul Tremblay, Rob Wells and Mike Smith in person at the Ricky, Julian and Bubbles Community Service Variety Show tonight in Toronto at Massey Hall, part of their cross-country comedy tour. For tickets go here.