Stewart stamp on 'Martin'

Comedy Central sets Busboy series

Comedy Central is back in business with Jon Stewart's Busboy Prods.

The network is set to announce Wednesday the pickup of a second series from "The Daily Show" host's production company. The sketch-variety show "Important Things With Demetri Martin" is slated for the second half of 2008; anywhere from six to 10 episodes will be executive produced by Stewart and Martin.

"Martin" is the second series Comedy Central has ordered from Busboy since they struck a first-look deal in 2005. "The Colbert Report" was their first collaboration.

Stewart has taken an active role in shepherding the "Martin" pilot, said Lauren Corrao, executive vp original programming and development at Comedy Central.

"When we were in the throes of postproduction, Jon went into the office and editing room and worked with Demetri on the final cuts," she said. "He's been very involved."

Martin has been a featured contributor on Stewart's "Daily Show" and has worked with the network in various other capacities, including his first comedy album, "These Are Jokes"; a stand-up tour; and a primetime special, "Demetri Martin, Person," which aired in January. The special was sponsored by Microsoft as part of a campaign last year to promote Windows Vista that also allowed Martin to star in webisodes for MSN (HR 6/7/06).

"Martin" is a sketch-variety show that will have Martin alternating between taped sketches and stand-up performances in front of a studio audience. The network has struck gold with this format before, including with "Chappelle's Show" and "Mind of Mencia," which received a fourth-season order Tuesday.

But Corrao noted that Martin's style of humor is nothing like the sketch shows the network has previously tried. The pilot puts Martin's sly, thoughtful manner to use by having all the segments riff on "the important things" about ... chairs. Future episodes will give the same treatment to everything from apples to "what happens after we die."

Martin also is an accomplished writer, having worked on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." He is writing two feature scripts, including "Will" for DreamWorks, and appearing in two others, "The Rocker" for Fox Atomic and "Kids in America" for Universal.

Busboy had another pilot set up at Comedy Central, the scripted single-camera "Three Strikes," but the network has passed on the project.

"Martin" will be produced by Busboy in association with One Verse. Martin is repped by CAA and attorney Nancy Rose. Busboy is repped by Dixon Talent.
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