Starz to 'Party Down' with comedy

Network picks up half-hour series from Rob Thomas

Starz Entertainment is beefing up its scripted slate with "Party Down," a half-hour series from "Veronica Mars" and "Cupid" creator Rob Thomas.

The pay cable network has handed out a 10-episode order to the comedy, which is slated to premiere early next year.

Produced by Starz Media, "Party Down" follows a sextet of Hollywood wannabes who make ends meet by working at a Los Angeles catering company. Each episode is set at a catered event.

"We'll have opportunity for satirical lampooning of whatever subset the party represents as we tell the ongoing stories of our catering crew," Thomas said. "If the original British version of 'The Office' was a show about people who have given themselves over completely to the rat race, 'Party Down' is a show about people who have chased the dream for far too long. "

Thomas co-created the show with Paul Rudd and "Mars" alums John Enbom and Dan Etheridge. The four are exec producing, with Enbom set to run the series. Two other frequent Thomas collaborators, Jennifer Gwartz and Danielle Stokdyk are co-exec producers, and Jennifer Dugan serves as producer.

The pilot for "Party Down" was financed by ABC Studios through Thomas' deal there last year. It was shot on spec at Thomas' home and was shopped to cable networks, landing at Starz.

"Party Down" joins Starz's first original series, "Crash," which premieres Oct. 17.