Web's Blue Collar Comedy site goes out of business

Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:00am EDT
 
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By Andrew Wallenstein

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Funny or Die, the Will Ferrell-fronted online humor hub, has suffered a death in the family.

A sister Web site that once featured the stars of Blue Collar Comedy is being shuttered by FOD's parent company, Or Die Networks (ODN). The site is being yanked because its traffic came up short of internal expectations.

BlueCollarOrDie is going down even as ODN, which declined comment, has multiple "Or Die"-branded sites in the offing devoted to niche audiences for extreme sports (ShredOrDie), video games (PwnOrDie) and food (EatDrinkOrDie). In June, ODN said HBO had taken a stake in the company of less than 10 percent.

Blue Collar's flameout came despite the pedigree of multiple Hollywood backers with proven track records. In addition to ODN and its venture capital financier, Sequoia Capital, the site's principals were Parallel Entertainment, the management company that turned the Blue franchise into a multimedia powerhouse, and Larry Lyttle, a veteran TV producer.

"Ultimately, the BlueCollar audience wasn't what it was on other platforms," said Lyttle, former president of Big Ticket Television. "So rather than chase bad money after good money, we decided to stop."

Launched in November, the site was modeled on FOD's mix of marquee celebrity attraction with short-form comedic original programming from lesser-known artists. First introduced as MyBlueCollar.com before switching to BlueCollarOrDie.com in February, the site was imbued with the Southern sensibility of Blue Collar group members Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy, Ron White and Bill Engvall.

MORE TOPICAL THAN DOWN-HOME

But by May it had become clear to the site's partners that what little audience it had built was derived from videos offering pop-culture spoofs far from the Blue Collar style. The site got more comedic mileage taking on headline-makers such as Eliot Spitzer, al-Qaida and Hillary Clinton than with typical Blue Collar material.   Continued...