December 15, 2011 9:51am PT by Lesley Goldberg
FX, Russell Brand Team for Unscripted Late-Night Series
Russell Brand is heading to TV with FX.
The male-skewing cable network has inked a deal with the comedian for a six-episode half-hour late-night series set to debut in the spring.
Featuring Brand's take on current events, politics and pop culture, each installment in the six-episode project will be taped in front of a live audience and feature interactive components with those in attendance.
“We’re very excited to add Russell Brand’s bracingly funny, original, and honest voice to the FX comedy lineup,” FX executive vp original programming Nick Grad said in a statement announcing the news Thursday. “We look forward to supporting Russell and his partner Troy Miller’s ambition to strip down the hosted comedy format to its most fundamental elements and to create something daring and unfiltered for the FX audience.”
Produced by FX Productions in association with Branded Films and Dakota Films, the pact marks the first television deal for Branded Films. The comedian will serve as an executive producer alongside Miller and Nik Linnen, with Miller also serving as a director on the series.
The project joins an FX lineup that features scripted comedies including Louie, Wilfred and the recently renewed The League, among others, and represents the network's entry into the late-night field.
“I am so excited I'm on the point of climax, in fact I will put the 'O' into FX, which spells Fox, which is actually the channel's real name,” Brand said. “That's the only thing that worries me about all this to be honest. At least I'll be able to have a Christmas drink with Bill O'Reilly.”
The news comes as Bravo also is expanding its foothold in the genre, growing Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens: Live to five nights a week; MTV has also been vocal in its desire to beef up its late-night block.
Brand, best known for his bad-boy role as Aldous Snow in Judd Apatow's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, began his career as a stand-up coming before rising to stardom on the big screen.
Miller is an 11-time Emmy nominee and two-time winner for directing, with credits including Flight of the Conchords, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Happy Endings and more. He has produced and directed short films which open the Oscar telecast and the MTV Movie Awards.
FX topper John Landgraff told THR in March that he'd love to have a daily late-night show.
"I would still love to have a daily show," he said. "I don’t mean The Daily Show -- though, of course, I’d love to have that, too -- but a daily show. I think it’s really great, as a channel, if you have something where original episodes are produced 30, 40 weeks a year.
"I think both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have invented entirely new shows that nobody’s ever seen before," he said of how he'd tackle the genre differently. "If Dave Chappelle said, 'I want to do a half-hour comedy/variety show,' and he had the right people around him, he’d invent something that was different. So just because innovation is hard doesn’t mean that it’s impossible."