11:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone Team for TV Land Comedy 'Friends With Melissa'
TV Land is set to explore the rise of Melissa McCarthy.
The Viacom-owned cable network is teaming with the Oscar nominee and Emmy-winning comedian and her actor husband Ben Falcone for single-camera comedy script Friends With Melissa.
The comedy is inspired by the real lives of writers Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras (Adult Swim's Mike Tyson's Mysteries) who watched as their friends from Los Angeles-based improv and sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings went on to star in blockbuster comedies and win Oscars while they tiled away writing for children's television. McCarthy will appear in the pilot episode and exec produce alongside Falcone via their On The Day banner.
"We are continuing to build our stable of innovative, engaging and challenging comedies, which is exactly what Melissa, Ben and these writers have brought us," said Keith Cox, executive vp development and original programming at TV Land. "With this script being from a group of alums from The Groundlings, we’re excited to know they’ll have an endless amount of creativity and interesting experiences to pull from."
Added McCarthy and Falcone in a joint statement: "We are so excited to be working with Hugh, Rachel and Larry — such funny people, who are great friends. TV Land is a great place for this show."
The Groundlings has produced a long roster of stars including McCarthy, Jack Black, Will Ferrell, Will Forte, Kathy Griffin, Phil Hartman, Cheryl Hines, Lisa Kudrow, Jon Lovitz, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Craig T. Nelson, Jim Rash, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig, among scores of others.
For TV Land, Friends With Melissa comes as the cable network has shifted its focus to a younger audience with single-camera fare including Younger, Teachers, Impastor, The Jim Gaffigan Show and more. The cabler recently picked up single-cam pilot I Shudder starring Hamish Linklater and is also developing a half-hour inspired by the life of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Kyle Richards with John Wells attached.
For McCarthy, the TV Land script sale comes as she's poised to return to CBS' Chuck Lorre/Warner Bros. Television comedy Mike and Molly for a sixth season. The sitcom began airing in syndication last year on FX.
McCarthy and Falcone are repped by CAA and MGMT. Davidson and Ramras are with ICM; Dorf is with Gersh and Odenkirk Provissiero.