'Daria' Spinoff, Starring Tracee Ellis Ross, Lands at Comedy Central

'Jodie' is produced by MTV Studios, which hopes to build a larger franchise around the animated series.
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Daria and Jodie from MTV's 'Daria' (Inset: Ross)

MTV Studios' Daria spinoff Jodie has found its home.

Two years after the series was first taken out to market — and a year after Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross was cast as the lead — the adult animated series has landed at Comedy Central.

Grace Edwards (Insecure) serves as creator and head writer on the series, which is based on the life of Jodie Landon, Daria's friend at the fictional Lawndale High. Jodie picks up with her character (voiced by Ross) graduating from college and entering a complicated world.

The series hopes to explore the trials and tribulations of a first job for a new generation and will satirize workplace culture, Gen Z struggles, the artifice of social media while also featuring themes of empowerment along gender and racial lines, explorations of privilege and a personal and professional issues young Black women face today. 

An episode count and premiere date have yet to be determined.

The series hails from MTV Studios, which was launched in June 2018 by MTV president Chris McCarthy with the larger goal of mining the youth-focused cable network's vault to revive old hits for other networks and suppliers. The initial intent was to sell to third-party buyers — which MTV Studios did with its revival of The Real World that sold to Facebook Watch. With Jodie, MTV Studios will supply ViacomCBS networks with original programming. McCarthy, for his part, has been a rising star at Viacom and now oversees Comedy Central, Paramount Network, MTV and VH1, among several others, as well as MTV Studios.

The original Daria, a spinoff from Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head, ran for five seasons on MTV from 1997-2002. The MTV Studios update was originally called Daria and Jodie and revolve around the two friends as they deconstruct pop culture, social classes, gender and race. That changed last year when Ross was tapped to voice Jodie. The series is the first in what MTV Studios hopes will become the "Daria universe," which in success would feature multiple TV series and films and honor the history of MTV Animation.

Comedy Central has continues to ramp up its animated offerings beyond mega-hit South Park and landed repeats of Netflix critical favorite BoJack Horseman. The network is also home to syndicated repeats of King of the Hill and The Cleveland Show. This is McCarthy's first major programming acquisition for Comedy Central since he took over the network from Kent Alterman. Since then, Comedy Central has canceled Alternatino With Arturo Castro (which moved to Quibi) and Lights Out With David Spade; while renewing its Crank Yankers revival, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens and Tosh.0 (for four more seasons).

Adult animation continues to be a growth genre on broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. In success, shows like Rick and Morty repeat well and bring in younger audiences and can often lead to profitable merchandising lines. Franchises like Family Guy and Bob's Burgers, for example, are considered to be worth billions. Hulu earlier on Thursday renewed two of its original adult animated comedies, while broadcast network Fox is heavily investing in the space and bought animation studio Bento Box in a deal worth millions.