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Ben Karlin, the Emmy-winning former executive producer of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report,” is returning to television with an exclusive multiplatform development and production deal at HBO.
Under the pact, Karlin will develop series, specials, telefilms and new-media projects for the premium cable channel. The deal also includes a first-look component for theatrical films. Karlin will write some of the projects and will supervise other writers on others.
“Through his work with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Ben has become one of the most important creative forces in comedy today, known for his smarts, his wit and his great talent relations,” HBO Films president Colin Callender said.
Added HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss, “I’ve been an admirer of Ben’s since his Onion days, and we are thrilled to finally be in cahoots with him at HBO Entertainment.”
Karlin made headlines in December when he left “Daily Show” and “Colbert.”
“I had an incredible experience working on those shows, but it ran its course for me,” Karlin said.
In the past seven months, he has been working on a book of comedic essays, “Things I’ve Learned From Women Who’ve Dumped Me,” which will be published in February.
“After a seven-month hangover from doing nothing, I felt ready to go back to what I love to do — writing jokes and enjoying the comedy,” Karlin said. “I wanted to see what cursing sounds like without all the bleeps, so I chose HBO.”
His other reason?
“HBO is the gold standard for a lot of quality programming,” he said. “I wanted to see if I could sully that good name.”
After spending most of his career on “Daily Show” and “Colbert,” Karlin is planning to stay away from political satire or fake news in his development for HBO.
“I really want to go into another direction,” he said.
Regardless of the genre he tackles, Karlin said he will follow a simple formula in creating new shows.
“I want the shows to be funny and smart or smart and then funny,” he said. “If that fails, I’ll have to figure out a way to make computer solitaire into a reality series.”
Karlin will develop the projects for HBO through his newly launched company, Super Ego Industries. Karlin has tapped Will Reiser (“Da Ali G Show”) to run the company, which is based in New York.
Karlin was the head writer and then executive producer of “Daily Show.” He also co-created and executive produced “Colbert.” For his work on the two shows, he won nine Emmys and two Peabodys.
Karlin also co-wrote and co-edited with Jon Stewart and David Javerbaum the best-seller “America (The Book).”
From 1993-96, Karlin was a writer for, then editor of, the satirical newspaper the Onion.
Karlin is repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie.
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