HBO reaches Aussie 'High'

Friday comedy block set for June

HBO has acquired the hit Australian comedy series "Summer Heights High."

The pay cable network will launch the eight-episode mocumentary series, created, written and performed by comedian Chris Lilley, in June.

It will run in a late-night Friday comedy block with HBO's new animated comedy "The Life and Times of Tim" during the offseason of "Real Time With Bill Maher."

"High" and "Life" will run back-to-back for eight weeks, with the final two segments from "Life's" 10-episode order airing the following Friday.

"High" chronicles high school life through three characters, all played by Lilley: Mr. G, a self-important, high-strung drama teacher; Ja'mie, a haughty, private-school female exchange student; and Jonah, a delinquent, break-dancing obsessed student. The show was shot on location at a real high school and features real-life students and faculty.

The acquisition bears a lot of similarities to HBO's move five years ago to add to its late-night lineup another popular mocumentary series from an English-speaking country, U.K.'s "Da Ali G Show," which also was the brainchild of a comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, playing three main characters.

In the case of "Ali G," HBO produced an U.S.-centered version of the his British series. The pay cable channel is said to be interested in developing projects with Lilley, too.

"High," the best-selling TV series on DVD in Australian history, is exec produced by Laura Waters, with Lilley co-producing. The show was directed by Stuart McDonald.

"Tim," created by Steve Dildarian, centers on an average guy whose instincts repeatedly lead him down the wrong path.

MRC produces the series, originally developed by Warner Bros. TV for Fox last season. Dildarian is exec producing with Tom Werner, Jimmy Miller and Mike Clements.