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The growing 5-year-old U.S. Comedy Arts Festival Sponsored by HBO has signed new sponsors for its annual event in Aspen, Colo., to be held March 3-7.

Coca-Cola Co. (for Coca-Cola Classic), Hyundai Motor America and Excite are joining Heineken USA (for Amstel Light) and MCI WorldCom as product sponsors. Other sponsors are the American Film Institute and cable TV's Cartoon Network, Comedy Central, and Turner Classic Movies, as well as The Hollywood Reporter, International Film Festival, Variety and apparel marketer Roots.


The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival is a mostly business-oriented event, where some 3,000 network executives, comedians and others meet to make business connections. It's the brainchild of Stu Smiley and Brian Murphy, co-executive directors of the event. Mr. Smiley is the executive producer of CBS' "Everybody Loves Raymond"; Mr. Murphy runs U.S. Concepts, an entertainment marketing company.

Sponsors pay between $50,000 and $100,000 to be part of the event.

Excite will be providing live streaming video via the Internet of the headlining part of the festival -- the award ceremony featuring Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, creators of "Seinfeld," who are getting the festival's AFI Star award.

Amstel Light and Coca-Cola will provide product sampling as well as gaining signage. Hyundai will display its cars at the event.

Turner Classic Movies is giving out the Writer's award to be given this year to playwright Neil Simon. Cartoon Network is sponsoring a video called "Pick Your Shorts," featuring celebrities talking about their favorite cartoons.

Comedy Central has been sponsoring an on-air sweepstakes with MCI WorldCom's

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