9:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Jim Carrey to Star in Showtime Straight-to-Series Comedy From Michel Gondry
Showtime is expanding its relationship with Jim Carrey.
The premium cable network has handed out a 10-episode straight-to-series order for scripted comedy Kidding, starring the I'm Dying Up Here executive producer.
The half-hour comedy will reunite Carrey with his Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind writer-director Michel Gondry, who will helm the series, as well as with I'm Dying Up Here co-executive producer Dave Holstein, who created the new series. The show is being produced in-house at Showtime.
Carrey will star in Kidding as Jeff (aka Mr. Pickles), an icon of children's TV, a beacon of kindness and wisdom to America's impressionable young minds and the parents who grew up with him — and who also anchors a multimillion-dollar branding empire. But when his family (his wife, two sons, sister and father) begins to implode, Jeff finds no fairy tale or fable or puppet will guide him through this crisis, which advances faster than his means to cope. The result: A kind man in a cruel world faces a slow leak of sanity as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.
"No one inhabits a character like Jim Carrey, and this role — which is like watching Humpty Dumpty after the fall — is going to leave television audiences wondering how they went so long without him," Showtime CEO David Nevins said Thursday in a statement. "With his Eternal Sunshine partner Michel Gondry on board to direct, we are on our way to a magnetic, volcanic and emotional viewing experience."
Kidding marks Carrey's first series-regular television role in more than two decades and comes long after the actor and comedian spent five seasons starring on variety-sketch show In Living Color. Before that, he got his first lead role on NBC's short-lived comedy The Duck Factory in 1984.
Kidding will be exec produced by Carrey, Gondry, Jason Bateman (Arrested Development, Ozark) and his Aggregate Films exec Jim Garavente, Raffi Adlan (The Green Hornet) and Michael Aguilar (I'm Dying Up Here). Holstein, whose credits also include Weeds and Raising Hope, will serve as showrunner. The project marks Gondry's largest TV commitment to date.
The order for Kidding comes less than a week after Showtime renewed low-rated 1970s-set stand-up comedy drama series I'm Dying Up Here for a second season.
Kidding arrives as the oay cabler is poised to launch two new half-hour series this year: White Famous (starring Jay Pharoah) and SMILF (written by, starring and directed by Frankie Shaw). The Showtime will next say farewell to veteran comedy Episodes and has a decision to make on the future of Andrew Dice Clay comedy Dice.
Carrey and Gondry are repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman; Holstein is repped by CAA.
A premiere date has not been determined.