March 12, 2014 7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Comedy Central Expands 'Key & Peele,' Develops Animated Spinoff
Comedy Central is investing in Key & Peele.
The cable network has expanded the previously announced fourth season of the sketch comedy series starring Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele and teamed with the duo to develop a potential animated series based on their popular "Vandaveon and Mike" characters. Season four, technically announced in October, will consist of 22 episodes, including two best-of installments. That's the largest episode count so far for the series, with eight in season one, 10 in its sophomore run and 13 last year.
The third season of Key & Peele, which wrapped its run in December, averaged 2 million total viewers a week and ranked first among men 18-34 in its Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. slot and was in the top five among the key adults 18-49 metric.
Key & Peele brings not only ratings but cache -- President Obama is a fan -- and good word of mouth to the network. The duo's videos, including "East/West College Bowl" and "Obama Loses His S**t" have generated more than 500 million total streams, with nine of the top 10 clips on Comedy Central's YouTube channel coming from the series. (Its first is the pair's "Substitute Teacher," with more than 44 million streams to date.)
Meanwhile, Comedy Central is teaming with Key and Peele to create an animated spinoff based on their popular Critiquer's Corner "Vandaveon & Mike" characters. The animated entry, which is in development, features the characters as 12-year-old hall monitors navigating their way through middle school. Rodney Barnes (Everybody Hates Chris, Boondocks) is on board to exec produce alongside Joel Zadak, Allen Fischer and Brian Dobbins.
Key and Peele created Vandaveon and Mike, which first originated on YouTube, as a humorous way to provide commentary on episodes of their own show, with the characters suggesting low-brow humor to improve the series. They were since added to on-demand episodes of the Comedy Central series.
Should the animated entry earn a series order, it would join a roster of series including Workaholics, which received a two-season pickup; Kroll Show, Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer and Tosh.0, which earned a three-season pickup in December.
For their part, Key and Peele -- who recently booked a recurring arc on FX's Fargo -- are repped by UTA and Principato Young.