3:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
John Slattery, Allison Tolman, Rafe Spall to Star in Hulu Comedy 'Kansas City'
Hulu is looking to find comedy in a politically divided world.
The streamer is near a deal for the comedy pilot Kansas City and, ahead of its official pickup, has locked in John Slattery, Allison Tolman and Rafe Spall to star.
From writer Zev Borow (Chuck), Kansas City is set in a modern U.S. riven by cultural and political divisions, so much so that it has chosen to split itself into two nations. One Missouri city, however, was too evenly divided to align with either side, so Kansas City split in two: the liberal East K.C. and conservative West K.C., with a wall built to divide the sides. The comedy will explore the rivalry between the two.
Spall (The Big Short, Life of Pi) stars as Ben Graham, a citizen of East K.C. who has wearily resigned himself to only being able to see his 15-year-old daughter, Clarissa — who lives in West K.C. — a few hours a day until he is approached about being a spy.
Slattery (Mad Men, Spotlight) will play Ellis Brookmeyer, Ben's former father-in-law and the last mayor of unified Kansas City. Brookmeyer is the leading funder of West K.C.'s secret police and will stop at nothing to bring East K.C. to its knees.
Tolman (Fargo, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) will play Tabatha Brookmeyer, Ben's ex-wife and the mother of their daughter. She left Ben and East K.C. to live with their daughter in West K.C. Her motivations then, and now, are complicated — as is her fraught relationship with her father, Ellis.
Borow will pen the script and executive produce the Sony Pictures Television single-camera comedy alongside Amblin's Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. Rhys Thomas is on board to direct the pilot, which is near a formal order at Hulu.
Kanas City arrives as the streamer is refining its approach to scripted programming after the breakout success of Emmy winner The Handmaid's Tale. Hulu continues to look for programming that can strike a chord and be part of the cultural conversation. Its comedy roster includes Future Man (also from Sony) and PEN15.
Spall is repped by Troika and UTA; Slattery is with Gersh and Untitled; and Tolman is repped by UTA and Odenkirk Provissiero. Borow, whose credits include Lethal Weapon, Mad Dogs and Forever, is with UTA and Morris Yorn.