12:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Will Forte Comedy 'Last Man on Earth' Nabs Fox Series Order
Three months after landing The Last Man on Earth after a multiple network bidding war, Fox has greenlighted the Will Forte comedy to series.
Last Man on Earth stars Forte as the last man on Earth. Forte created the series and will write and executive produce the single-camera comedy alongside producing partners Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street). Lord and Miller will direct the comedy, which hails from 20th Century Fox TV, where the duo are under an overall deal. Lord Miller president of television Seth Cohen will also executive produce.
Forte has a history with Lord and Miller, having voiced a character in The Lego Movie and on their series, Clone High. The project comes as Forte's film career has been heating up. The SNL vet stars in Nebraska, which has earned the actor awards season recognition from the Independent Spirit Awards, the National Board of Review and more.
Production will begin in the summer for the 2014-15 broadcast season, where it is slated to premiere midseason. A premiere date and episode count have not yet been announced.
The order comes weeks after Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly sent shockwaves through the industry when he declared pilot season was dead and said the network would develop fewer projects, but hand out larger commitments in a bid to produce better programming. The decision arrives as the network shifts to more year-round scheduling and an effort to break free of the traditional Hunger Games-style competition for writers, producers, showrunners and talent during traditional pilot season.
Thus far this season, Fox has ordered 15 total projects -- eight comedies and seven dramas. That's down one from last year's haul. The network's series commitments include comedies Cabot College, a pilot with series commitment from Tina Fey; John Mulaney comedy Mulaney; Zachary Knighton starrer Weird Loners; as well as dramas Backstrom, from Hart Hanson; Batman prequel Gotham, a pilot with series commitment; and Egyptian drama Hieroglyph. The series commitments are up five from last year.
On the comedy side, the network has pilots Dead Boss (with an eye toward series production); Fatrick (with an expected series order); as well as Here's Your Damn Family and Sober Companion (with an eye toward series production). For drama, the network has ordered Empire (with an eye toward series); The Middle Man (with back-up scripts); Red Band Society (series prototype with additional back-up scripts though not a formal pilot order); and Runner (an off-cycle commitment with an eye toward production in the summer).
Forte is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Hansen Jacobson. He'll next be seen opposite Jennifer Aniston in Life of Crime and Squirrels to the Nuts, starring Aniston and Owen Wilson.