Andy Samberg's The Lonely Island Inks Multi-Year Deal at Fox
The trio behind memorable "SNL" digital shorts like "Lazy Sunday" and "Dick in a Box" will oversee development on comedy projects for the web with an eye on bringing them to TV.
Andy Samberg is expanding his reach at Fox.
One day after winning the Golden Globe, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star has inked a multi-year deal alongside his Lonely Island cohorts Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone for a new alternative comedy venture, a move that continues Fox's push into seeking new projects through non-traditional development avenues.
With the new company, the trio will oversee the development of comedy projects that will be nurtured through digital platforms like Hulu and Roku, with the goal of bringing them to series on a 21st Century Fox-owned network -- Fox, FX or FXX -- as well as others.
The partnership marks Fox's third multi-platform development initiative, following 2012's Animation Domination High-Def and 2013's pact with WIGS, the digital studio founded by Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia.
"This is Fox's third alternative development venture, and I'm ecstatic that we're launching it with comedic geniuses The Lonely Island," said Kevin Reilly, Fox's chairman of entertainment. "I've admired Akiva, Andy and Jorma's work for many years, and they share our desire to give creators more independence and the opportunity to take risks. These guys know what it takes to break through -- whether online or on air -- and they are the perfect partners to help us find the next generation of comedy hits."
"Andy, Jorma and I are super excited to work with Mr. Reilly and everyone at Fox to make innovative and cool TV shows that might not otherwise make it through the normal development process," said Schaffer. "Reilly has given us a sandbox to play in, and we've brought our shovels, buckets, towels, sunblock, some old Grisham paperbacks, a Luna bar -- wait -- what was I talking about again?"
"It's vital that we foster more experimentation both on and off the Fox lot, so we can take more shots at identifying hits. We are committed to providing The Lonely Island all the support they need for success," added Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, senior vp multi-platform Programming at Fox.
Friends since childhood, The Lonely Island came to prominence on Saturday Night Live, where Samberg, Taccone and Schaffer created the popular "SNL Digital Shorts" series, producing viral hits like "Lazy Sunday," "Dick in a Box," "I'm on a Boat," "Jack Sparrow," "Natalie Raps" and "YOLO," just to name a few. They won an Emmy Award in 2007 for "Dick in a Box" and were nominated for a Grammy for the 2011 sophomore album, Turtleneck & Chain. The group's YouTube channel has amassed 1.24 billion views.
The news boosts Samberg's stock at Fox, where he currently stars as Detective Jake Peralta and is a producer on cop comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which won a Golden Globe for best comedy series. The show will follow fellow Tuesday night comedy New Girl after Fox's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2. In 2005, The Lonely Island had previously produced a comedy pilot called Awesometown for Fox.
Samberg, Schaffer and Taccone are all repped by UTA and Mosaic.
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