4:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
TBS Orders Greg Garcia Anthology Series, Jonathan Ames Pilot, Danny McBride Animated Comedy
TBS, already undergoing a complete programming refresh, is adding to its slate.
The Turner-owned cable network has handed out a straight-to-series order for The Guest Book, a comedy anthology from My Name Is Earl creator Greg Garcia. Additionally, the comedy-themed net has ordered World's End, a comedy pilot from Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death, Blunt Talk) starring Hamish Linklater and Wanda Sykes. Beyond the live-action projects, TBS also ordered its first original primetime animated series — Tarantula, produced by Danny McBride — that will likely join new episodes of Fox import American Dad.
"Our new projects, from some of the best creators and producers in the industry, will fit perfectly with the new direction we've been taking the TBS brand," Brett Weitz, exec vp programming at TBS, said Sunday in a statement. "Each show brings something fresh and unique to the comedy genre, from the unforgettable characters that Greg has created in The Guest Book to the wild, animated absurdities of Carson’s Tarantula. We also can't wait to see how the envelope-pushing audacity of our World's End pilot plays out on screen."
Key for TBS is the fact that its in-house production banner, Studio T, is co-producing all three projects — paramount in an era where ownership is becoming a major priority for broadcast and cable networks amid dwindling same-day ratings. The news comes as TBS, under Kevin Reilly, has a roster of all new programming this year, led by the already twice-renewed Angie Tribeca and fellow freshman The Detour, Wrecked, People of Earth (debuting Oct. 31) and Search Party, which will debut its entire first season with two episodes a night at 11 p.m. ET/PT from Nov. 21-25. (The unique rollout strategy comes after TBS debuted Angie Tribeca with a 24-hour marathon and handed out an early season-two renewal with the sophomore season launching a week later.)
Here's a closer look at each of the projects:
• The Guest Book is based on Garcia's long-running tradition of writing fictitious stories in the guest books of various rental cabins in an effort to freak out the next renters. The single-camera comedy hails from CBS Television Studios — where Garcia is under an overall deal — and marks the Raising Hope producer's first cable foray as well as a key sale for the studio. The comedic anthology centers on a small-town vacation home and its visitors. While the house and cast of characters living in this small mountain town remain the same, each episode will feature a different set of guests renting the house. Garcia will write all 10 of the episodes of the series, which is a co-production of CBSTVS and Turner's Studio T. The comedy will debut in 2017. For Garcia, the series comes after the veteran producer had two pilots in contention at CBS and NBC with both ultimately passed over.
• Animated comedy Tarantula is written by Carson Mell (Silicon Valley) and is a co-production of Studio T and McBride, Jody Hill, David Gordon Green and Brandon James' Rough House Pictures, the producers of both Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals. TBS has ordered an "open-ended run" of the series about the residents of the Tierra Chula Resident Hotel (aka "The Tarantula"). The comedy centers on Echo Johnson, a respected but uncertified tattoo artist who delivers absurd yet introspective monologues. Echo's poetic ramblings spin tales of misadventures with the other residents, as they partake in party crashing, dumpster diving and other socially dubious acts of mischief. McBride and Hill are currently overseeing HBO's Vice Principals, the movie turned closed-ended TV series that will end its run following its initial episode order.
• World's End is a half-hour pilot based on an original Sagafilm TV format. It centers on Henry Mueller (Linklater), a charismatic high school English teacher who has a breakdown and is committed to a mental institution. There, under the watchful eye of Louise Baldwin (Sykes), he begins to feel "sane." Henry starts to question the system and the methods used to contain the inmates, ultimately becoming the leader of an inmate revolt. It's a dark comedy about an asylum that operates like a family, and as in all families, the question of who is sane and who is not is open for discussion. Ames (currently showrunning Starz's Seth MacFarlane live-action comedy Blunt Talk) will pen the script. The comedy is a co-production of Ben Silverman's Electus and Turner's Studio T. Silverman, Stephanie Davis (Bored to Death) and Sean Canino (Jane the Virgin) will exec produce with Alan Poul (The Newsroom) set to direct.