April 23, 2014 8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ari Shaffir Show Shifts From Web to Comedy Central With Series Order (Exclusive)
Comedy Central's digital production arm CC: Studios is already paying off.
The cable network has picked up This Is Not Happening to series, marking the first property developed in-house by the initiative to gain a pickup on the linear channel, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
This Is Not Happening, a longform storytelling show hosted by Ari Shaffir, ran for two seasons online. The eight-episode series will debut in the fall and feature Shaffir's comedian friends telling hilarious and true stories in front of a live audience at L.A.'s gentlemen's club, Cheetahs.
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This Is Not Happening was also distributed as audio episodes on Comedy Central Radio by Sirius XM, and also included exclusive interviews with talent. Season two performers included Joe Rogan, David Koechner, Fortune Feimster, Moshe Kasher and Kumail Nanjiani, among others.
The series was originally developed by CC: Studios, which was launched in January 2013 as an effort to develop original digital comedies. The studio works with creators to develop concepts and talent for digital distribution, be it longform, shortform, animation or ultimately for its linear channel.
"The only reason we are picking up This Is Not Happening is to prove we can incubate an idea digitally and then have it migrate to the linear channel," said Kent Alterman, Comedy Central's original programming president. "And also, it's really funny storytelling with fantastic talent."
Shaffir, Eric Abrams, Sam Saifer and Jeff Tomsic, who will direct, will executive produce the series, which is based on Shaffir's long-running live show. Shaffir is repped by Gersh and Sam Saifer Management.
This Is Not Happening joins a roster of original fare at Comedy Central that includes Workaholics, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Kroll Show and Key & Peele, among others.
Head to CC: Studios to check out episodes from season one.
The move to shift This Is Not Happening to TV comes as programmers have renewed their interest in online series. Comedy Central successfully brought Broad City to TV and renewed it for a second season, where it joins Drunk History on the network. Cartoon Network has found success with Annoying Orange and Nickelodeon the same with AwesomenessTV, among others. For its part, IFC is bringing Kate Micucci and Riki Lindhome's Garfunkel and Oates to the small screen, and Childrens Hospital has been a mainstay on Adult Swim, while Showtime continues to mine Web Therapy. Not to be outdone, The CW ordered its first homegrown comedy series, Backpackers, from its digital arm CW Seed. The comedy will debut this summer.