IFC unveils programming slate, new brand ID

7:11 AM PST 03/23/2010 by Georg Szalai, AP

Includes the 'Onion News Network' TV series

NEW YORK -- IFC on Tuesday unveiled new tagline "Always On. Slightly Off" along with a programming slate featuring such stars as David Cross, Will Arnett and the Kids in the Hall, as well as satire newspaper The Onion.

Launching this month, the new brand identity evolves IFC's focus from indie films to more original programming, especially in the area of edgy comedy. It also differentiates it further from sibling network Sundance Channel, which is also part of Cablevision's Rainbow Media network unit.

The company said the new tagline and focus reflects "the attitude of its influential 70% male audience."

Centerpieces of IFC's new slate are "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," starring David Cross and Will Arnett in their first project together since "Arrested Development," set to launch in the fall; and "Onion News Network," the first TV series based on the weekly fake newspaper and web series, slated to kick off in the first quarter of 2011.

IFC also has acquired 'Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town," a Kids in the Hall reunion series debuting in August, as well as "Dead Set," a satirical zombie horror series taking place on the set of the U.K.'s "Big Brother" house, premiering in October.

"Todd Margaret" is created by, written by and starring Cross as a corporate nobody who unexpectedly finds himself running his company's London office. His tough boss (Arnett) charges him with launching a new and terrible energy drink. Special guests on the show include Spike Jonze and Amber Tamblyn.

The half-hour show got a six-episode order. It is a co-production of IFC and RDF Television.

The half-hour "Onion News Network" received a 10-episode order and is based on the Web series of the same name that provides a weekly report of nonsensical news, headlines and over-the-top debates.

"Our re-brand and new slate were driven by IFC evolving from being first and foremost about indie film to showcasing programming that's 'always on' the mark, but with a 'slightly off' indie perspective," said Jennifer Caserta, executive vp & general manager of IFC. "It's a perspective and attitude we share with our audience, who crave the kinds of unconventional stories, characters, talent, execution and, above all, authenticity, we provide."

The network said many of its viewers are either "Authentic Influencers" or "Responsible Rebels." The influencers are aged 18-34, are passionate about being creative and uncovering what’s new and are early adopters. The rebels, aged 34-49, are their matured version.

Here highlights of other series that IFC has acquired or is developing:

* "The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town": Eight 30-minute episodes.
All five original Kids of the sketch comedy troupe reunite for a comical murder-mystery series.

* "Dead Set," one 45-minute pilot and four half-hour episodes.
"During eviction night on the U.K. "Big Brother" series, zombies emerge and begin attacking humans" in the TV studio, the show description reads. Can the cast get away?

* "I Love the A.D.'s” (working title of original show in development):
"An irreverent animated series that takes place during biblical times," the show takes place during the "lost years" of Jesus' early 20s while he's still figuring out what he wants to do with his life.

* "There Might Be Cake":
Comedian Greg Behrendt hosts a weekly chat with famous comedians about their careers and how they've achieved success. The guest comedian chooses several of his favorite emerging comics whose performances are highlighted throughout each episode.

* "Variety Shac":
A comedy series that revolves around the four members of "Variety Shac," an all female sketch comedy troupe who are out to prove that sketch comedy isn't just a man's world.

* "Dieter Horn in Night Port":
A German criminal is charged with fighting crime in Port City or facing a lifetime in jail. Armed with great hair, a classic Porsche and one-liners, the protagonist and the show spoof 1980s TV action/comedy classics like "Miami Vice," "Magnum PI" and "Knight Rider."

* "Jobbed":
A workplace comedy set at the East Village branch of the Manhattan Department of Labor's Unemployment Office featuring a downsized dotcommer who becomes a civil servant.

* "Young, Broke & Beautiful":
A take on the travel genre through the eyes of host/travel book author Broke-Ass Stuart who takes viewers on underground cultural adventures in cities across America.
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