The business with TV bloopers
Ethan Hawke
Credit: Doane Gregory

&#091Holiday Encore&#093 A blooper show was once a miserly producer’s dream. When Dick Clark first started making blooper specials 17 years ago, Mary Tyler Moore stumbling into a coffee table might have sold for $1,000, according to Al Schwartz, executive producer of Clark’s outtake series. But times have changed since Clark could throw together a weekly show and still have enough money left over to keep Ed McMahon’s fridge stocked.

As more blooper shows began competing for funny flubs, people gradually realized there was gold in them thar spills, and soon everyone involved in the original scene — writers, actors, directors, even composers whose music played in the background — all demanded royalty cuts for a 10-second goof. Today, buying the rights to Kelsey Grammer saying “Piles” instead of “Niles” can add up to $25,000.

Unfortunately for folks like you and me, the payday for ordinary Joe bloopers hasn’t kept pace with celebrity outtakes. “The World’s Funniest!” executive producer Brad Lachman says the Fox show — which relies on non-celebrity flubs — pays just $200 for that shot of Dad painfully belly-flopping into his backyard pool or Mom getting bitten on the nose by the neighbor’s canary. So here’s some advice to home videographers aiming to share in the big bucks: Before you get hit in the groin with your next golf ball, get yourself a good agent.