April 30, 2014 11:27am PT by Philiana Ng
Syfy Orders First Digital Comedy Series 'Underlings' (Exclusive)
Syfy is expanding its digital presence.
The NBCUniversal-owned cable network has ordered its first original scripted comedy digital series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Underlings is a workplace comedy that brings viewers behind the scenes of a criminal organization, G.O.R.I.L.L.A. (Global Oppression, Rebellion, Intelligence, Larceny and LAsers), and introduces the three men who make sure the printer is stocked with toner, organize the office karaoke night and keep the death rays deadly.
Jonathan Howard, Chris Mena and Tony Vitali star in the 10-episode series, along with Jessica Chobot (Attack of the Show), Michael Naughton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), James Adomian (Comedy Bang! Bang!, @midnight), John Ennis and Joseph Gatt (Game of Thrones). Howard, Vitali, Mena, Josh Forbes and Isaac Rentz are co-creators, with Forbes and Rentz co-directors. Universal Cable Productions and More Media are behind the project.
A formal announcement of the project is expected at Syfy's upfront presentation in New York on April 30.
Syfy's move into original content online signals the network's continued aggressive push in revamping its entire scripted slate, which includes six-hour space opera Ascention, Z Nation, The Expanse, Dominion, 12 Monkeys and mythology drama Olympus. The network is also developing Frank Miller's Ronin and Oni Press' Letter 44.
"Today we think about digital as a core part of our content experience, rather than a companion part. Our storytelling strategy rests on three pillars: enabling greater participation so that fans can influence content and programming, extending the 'first screen' story to provide a deeper, richer narrative experience, and, lastly, providing greater access to what goes on behind the scenes," said Michael Engleman, executive vp marketing, digital and global brand strategy at Syfy. "The net result is a more multiscreen brand of storytelling for a fan base that absolutely craves it."