Fox sketches out new idea for comedy pilot

'Entourage's' Kevin Connolly on board as an exec producer

Fox aims to redefine sketch comedy with a half-hour pilot developed and greenlighted under the network's alternative programming chief Mike Darnell.

The ensemble -- referred to as untitled comedy troupe project, or "Inside Jokes" -- hails from Merv Griffin Entertainment, with "Entourage" co-star Kevin Connolly on board as an executive producer. The pilot is filming this week, hosted by Cameron Bender and featuring five other cast members: Mary Scheer, Jay Phillips, Carrie Wiita, Paul Schackman and Lauren Rose Lewis.

The project is the brainchild of playright/actor/acting coach Ted Brunetti, who first approached Merv Griffin TV president Roy Bank about the idea. Bank brought in Connolly, who has been venturing into directing and producing.

The three will executive produce with Ron Ward and John Moffitt.

Gerry Cohen is directing the pilot for the project, which Bank describes as "a new way of doing sketch comedy."

"You are going to get a lot more laughs and a lot more looks than a traditional sketch show," Bank said. "In 90 minutes, they have 15 (segments) on 'Saturday Night Live.' We will do two to three times as many in 30 minutes. This show is making us laugh through shorter and quicker-hitting skits than a traditional sketch comedy."

Fox has traditions in the sketch comedy genre with 1990s hit "In Living Color" and, most-recently, late-night series "Mad TV."