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Louis C.K. tells Howard Stern how he cast “Horace and Pete,” sold it online and lost millions (so far)

Louis CK appeared on Monday morning’s edition of The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM, wherein he acknowledged that he needed the publicity now to help spur sales of his DIY-TV drama, Horace and Pete.

CK had sprung the show’s first episode online on his website in January as a complete surprise to his fans and virtually everyone else — outside of the A-list cast he’d recruited to make Horace and Pete with him.

He told Stern that each episode cost $500,000 to make (slightly more than FX was paying him to make episodes of Louie), and that he’d hoped to recoup enough through independent sales of the first four episodes to cover the rest of the season. Only that didn’t happen. “When I got to episode four, I was like, ‘Hey gang, I don’t have any money.’ So I had to take out a line of credit,” he said.

Episode 1 costs $5; episode 2, $3; the remaining eight episodes, $2 each. Or $31 total. CK said his line of credit put him millions of dollars into debt, but by doing publicity now on Stern (and on the late-night TV shows), plus pushing it for Emmy nominations, he hopes to make the money back. If not also make a profit. CK said he would eventually sell the rebroadcast rights to a TV network and/or streaming platform.

“It will hurt, and it will leave me with no cushion in life, but I’m willing to do that,” he told Stern about his short-term financial investment into the series. “I’ll go on the road, doing stand-up, afterwards, and I’ll make it back.”

After securing Steve Buscemi as his main co-star, CK said last year’s Emmys provided him with the perfect opportunity to cast both Edie Falco and Jessica Lange in supporting roles.

Of course, Joe Pesci wasn’t at the Emmys. And he apparently hadn’t heard much about Louis CK.

Listen to more clips from CK’s appearance on Stern here:

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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