Spike series' goal: be a football hero

Network greenlights comedy 'Blue Mountain State'

Spike TV is heading to the college gridiron, greenlighting a football-themed comedy pilot from Brian Robbins.

"Blue Mountain State," from Lionsgate and Robbins' Varsity Pictures, is a half-hour scripted comedy in the vein of "Animal House." The project, written by Chris Romano and Eric Falconer ("The Sarah Silverman Program"), follows three incoming freshmen attending Midwestern college football powerhouse Blue Mountain State who must quickly adapt to college life and juggle football, girls, classes and nonstop hazing.

Robbins ("Smallville") is executive producing and will direct the pilot, which goes into production in February. Robbins' producing partner Sharla Sumpter Bridgett along with Romano and Falconer will serve as co-exec producers.

Former NFL running back-turned-actor Ed Marinaro ("Sisters," "Hill Street Blues") stars as the team's coach. Darin Brooks ("Days of Our Lives") plays Alex, a talented quarterback content to ride the bench while partying with his best friend, Sammy (Romano), who aspires to be the school's mascot. Sam Jones III ("ER") plays Craig, the school's top recruit and future pro whose life already is mapped out for him by his controlling girlfriend, Denise (Gabrielle Dennis, "The Game").

The cast also includes Alan Ritchson ("Smallville") as Thad, a senior on the football team who loves hazing incoming freshman.

Spike TV first entered the original scripted comedy business this year with "The Factory." No decision has been made regarding a second season of that series.

Through their WMA-repped Varsity banner, Robbins and Sumpter Bridgett have produced TV series including "The Nick Cannon Show." Romano and Falconer are repped by UTA. Brooks is with TalentWorks and Kritzer/Levine/Wilkins. Jones is with APA and Luber Roklin.