4:20pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Dwayne Johnson Comedy 'Ballers' Lands Series Order at HBO
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is heading to TV full time.
HBO has picked up to series Ballers, the half-hour dramedy starring the Pain & Gain alum, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Ballers examines the lives of a group of former and current football players.
The comedy hails from Stephen Levinson (Entourage), who penned the script and executive produces alongside Mark Wahlberg, Johnson, Hiram Garcia, Evan Reilly and Peter Berg, the latter of whom will direct the pilot. Dany Garcia is on board as a co-EP. HBO is producing the series with Wahlberg's Closest to the Hole Productions, Levinson's Leverage Entertainment and White Buffalo Entertainment.
Ballers continues the premium cable network's relationship with Levinson and Wahlberg, whose credits also include HBO vehicles Boardwalk Empire, How to Make It in America and In Treatment.
Johnson is no stranger to the sports world, having played college football before kicking off his World Wrestling Federation career and becoming one of the sport's best and most renowned personalities.
The series marks Johnson's latest small-screen effort and first series regular role. His credits also include hosting TNT's reality competition series The Hero.
For Berg, the Johnson starrer will bring the number of HBO pilots he's attached to direct to two, joining Damon Lindelof's adaptation of The Leftovers.
The cast includes Omar Benson Miller, John David Washington, Rob Corddry, Troy Garity, Donovan Carter, Jazmyn Simon, Taylor Cole and LeToya Luckett.
The Ballers good news comes two days after HBO picked up fellow comedy pilot The Brink, starring Tim Robbins and Jack Black, to series and weeks after the premium cabler opted to cancel comedies Family Tree and Hello Ladies after one season each. (Hello Ladies will wrap up with a comedy special.)
The pickup gives the network a comedy with instant cache and comes as the premium cabler has been focusing on niche fare, as it has struggled to find a broad comedy hit comparable to dramas True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and, more recently, True Detective.
Ballers and The Brink joins a roster of original comedies that includes Girls, Veep and Looking, with Mike Judge's Silicon Valley also due in April. The network has the six-episode Emily Mortimer entry Doll & Em due in March and is in talks for a second season of Getting On.
This leaves HBO with no remaining comedy pilot in the works after it opted to cancel family comedy People in New Jersey, starring Sarah Silverman.
Ballers marks the third series HBO has picked up this week, joining David Fincher's adaptation of Utopia.
An episode count and premiere date for Ballers has not yet been determined.