11:35am PT by Michael O'Connell
IFC Orders More 'Documentary Now,' Developing Steven Weber Comedy and 7 More
IFC announced a robust development slate during Thursday's upfront presentation. The cable network, home of Portlandia, has eight comedies in development, including a vehicle for Steven Weber. It also has committed to a second outing of Documentary Now!
Todd Barth Can Help You, created and executive produced by Bryan Cranston, Clay Graham and Weber himself, follows a conservative insurance adjuster who changes his life in pursuit of becoming a self-help guru. Of the eight new projects at the network, it is one of the few with talent currently attached to star.
"These projects reflect our mission to make great content with cool people," said IFC president Jennifer Caserta. “At IFC, we are driven by developing smart comedy that is 'slightly off' and working with the very best creative forces, both in front of and behind the camera."
A sophomore outing of Documentary Now! was expected. The spoof, from Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Rhys Thomas, debuted in 2015 to warm approval from critics. Three of the planned seven new episodes will pay comedic homage to documentaries The War Room, Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Salesman.
“An important part of the magic of Documentary Now!, beyond the incredible talent on both sides of the camera with Bill, Fred, Seth, Rhys, [director] Alex [Buono] and [executive producer] Andrew [Singer], is that every well-crafted episode is based on one of the most popular and noteworthy documentaries of our time,” added Caserta. “This series was an instant hit with IFC viewers in its first season, and we think we have a real opportunity in season two to turn every episode into a major event celebrating Documentary Now! and the real-world documentaries that provided such rich comedic material for this remarkable creative talent to work with.”
IFC also announced it is transitioning its digital effort, The Comedy Crib, to linear. The short-form programming will air weekly, as part of a a half-hour late-night program starting in the fall.
As for the rest of the lengthy development slate, all projects are detailed below.
Todd Barth Can Help You
A conservative insurance adjuster completely changes his path in life when he starts to believe he has what it takes to become a New Age self-help guru. Steven Weber (Wings) is attached to star. Produced by Moonshot Entertainment, Todd Barth Can Help You is created and executive produced by Bryan Cranston, Clay Graham (Santa Clarita Diet) and Weber. James Degus (SuperMansion) also is executive producing, with Graham writing the series.
The 1970s punk scene comes to rough and fumbling life when Terry, a young music aficionado, flees Texas and moves into the run-down, cockroach-infested Canterbury Apartments in the heart of Hollywood. Terry and his rowdy female musician roommates sleep all day and make music and mayhem all night at Hollywood’s first punk rock club, as they try to break into the music industry. Created by Allison Anders (Mi Vida Loca, Grace of My Heart) and Terry Graham (drummer for seminal punk band The Bags, Gun Club and author of Punk Like Me).
A film noir-inspired comedy following female detective, Annie, who solves crimes in the hamlet of Sicily, USA. She is a rebel crime solver with a bit of a drinking problem, a new partner to contend with and some family history to unravel before it tears her apart. Created by Kelly Galuska, who has worked on BoJack Horseman and Mom, and was recently nominated for a WGA Award for her individual episode of BoJack Horseman.
How to Rig an Election
Based on the book How to Rig an Election by former political consultant Allen Raymond, the series explores the astonishingly dark underbelly of political campaigning. Written and executive produced by Tom Ruprecht (Late Night With David Letterman, The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore).
A dark comedy about two female best friends who wish nothing but the worst for each other. They share a murderous secret that most days takes a back seat to the everyday drama of their disappointing adult children, small-town politics and an annoying, yet charming, ex-husband. Grand Lake is created by WGA award-winning Gretchen Enders (Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street) and produced by the Academy Award-winning A24 (Room, Amy).
Laughs in Transition
Based on the Above Average webseries that starred Saturday Night Live alum Brooks Wheelan, this series is a fish-out-of-water travel show that explores what different people around the world find funny and why. With local comedians as guides, the host will travel the world to find out if anything is universally funny or if some humor is just lost in translation.
Living With Yourself
A burned-out copywriter undergoes a novel treatment to become a better person, only to find his worst enemy is himself. Told through multiple perspectives and intersecting storylines, this inventive philosophical comedy asks: Do we really want to be better? Created by Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning Tim Greenberg (Daily Show) and executive produced by Anthony Bregman (Foxcatcher, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Jeffrey Stern of Likely Story. Jeff Blitz (Review, The Office) is attached to direct and executive produce.
This Land Is Ours
Set in present-day New York, this series follows a group of anarchist squatters who take over an unoccupied Harlem Row House with every intention to keep it for themselves. They are forced to defend themselves against the fat cat developers who they discover have sold the property for near billions. The bizarre collective of activists, artists and hippies form a strong bond while waging war to bring back the gritty city they love. Written and created by Vicki Pepperdine and Joanna Scanlan (Creators of Getting On and Puppy Love). Produced by Merman (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Catastrophe), the production company founded and run by Sharon Horgan and Clelia Mountford, together with George and George Co, the production company owned by Pepperdine and Scanlan.