January 10, 2014 10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ben Stiller-Produced Scripted Half-Hour Picked Up to Series at Comedy Central
Comedy Central is expanding its scripted offerings, picking up Ben Stiller-produced half-hour Big Time in Hollywood, FL to series.
The Viacom-owned cable network has ordered 10 episodes of the series from writer/executive producer/star Alex Anfanger.
The comedy, which was picked up to pilot in August, follows two delusional brothers/self-proclaimed filmmakers -- portrayed by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson -- who are kicked out of their parents' house and forced to fend for themselves for the first time, leading them on a journey in pursuit of the American dream. Kathy Baker, Stephen Tobolowsky and Jon Bass co-star.
Big Time hails from Stiller's Red Hour banner and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. The series was written by Anfanger and Dan Schimpf, who both executive produce alongside Stiller, Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein as well as Brillstein's Lee Kernis and Brian Stern. A premiere date has not yet been determined. Monika Zielinska and Adam Londy oversee for Comedy Central.
Anfanger and Schimpf, both NYU Tisch Arts graduates, met when they were paired as roommates in their freshman year and began collaborating on comedy shorts shortly afterward. Following graduation, they discovered a scripted reality show they found "overwhelmingly pointless," and decided to write a series starring a vapid character in a high-stakes world without limits. That became web series Next Time on Lonny, which is in its second season and hails from Red Hour and Maker Studios. For his part, Anfanger also appears in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which was directed by and stars Stiller.
For Comedy Central, the Big Time order comes after Kent Alterman, president of content development and original programming, expressed his disappointment that the cabler didn't broadcast more scripted series. "When I arrived, there was a batch of pilots just completed. We picked up Workaholics out of that batch, and I figured that would be the first of many. It's been more difficult than I anticipated," he told The Hollywood Reporter during a May interview.
Big Time marks the latest series in Red Hour's arsenal. The production company also nabbed a series order at Comedy Central for stand-up comedy series Jonah and Kumail as well as IFC's sketch comedy series The Birthday Boys, as the banner continues its push into television under Liebling. The company is developing a handful of projects, including a new take on Reality Bites for NBC and two entries set up at HBO.
In addition to Big Time, Comedy Central has ordered animated comedy Moonbeam City, from executive producer Rob Lowe. The weekly series was created and exec produced by Scott Gairdner (Conan) and Olive Bridge's Will Gluck and Richard Schwartz. Rob Lowe will exec produce the series and lead its voice cast. The '80s crime show parody series, also featuring Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte and Kate Mara, will debut in 2015.