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Comedian-actor Billy Eichner is headed to Turner.
The Emmy-nominated host of Billy on the Street has signed a multilayered deal with Turner Broadcasting that includes a fourth-season renewal for his popular game show Billy on the Street on the cabler’s TruTV, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
As part of the pact, Eichner’s man-on-the-street game show will return later this year with 10 new episodes on TruTV. A premiere date has not yet been determined, but production will begin in New York in the spring. As part of the pact, Turner-owned comedy network TBS will air encores of each Billy on the Street episode, with the window still to be determined. Turner has also secured rights to all 32 previously produced episodes of Billy on the Street, which hails from Funny or Die and previously aired on music-themed network Fuse.
The Turner deal also includes a development component that calls for Eichner to create pilots for potential TruTV and Adult Swim series, half-hour specials featuring Eichner for TBS and TruTV.
“One of the goals for a new partner was to get Billy on the Street seen by as many viewers as possible. The combined reach of TruTV and TBS was really unmatchable,” said Mike Farah, president of production at Funny or Die and an EP on Billy. “Fuse had been good partners for three years but with Nuvo becoming the owner last year — and along with it different programming priorities — we felt it was the right time to find a new home.”
“I am beyond excited about this new era for Billy on the Street,” said Eichner, who is currently reprising his role as Craig on the final season of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. “I’m thrilled to be working with truTV and the Turner family, and I’m very ready to hit the streets for a new season of making dreams come true and changing lives for the better.”
Added TBS president David Levy: “This deal is a great opportunity to tap into and expand the Billy phenomenon using the power of the Turner portfolio. No other media company has the assets and the reach — especially among Generation X, Millennials and Generation Edge viewers — to pull off this kind of multilayered deal. The Turner networks are going to be the perfect home for Billy’s brilliant comedic talents and his growing legion of young fans.”
Billy on the Street is exec produced by Farah, Eichner and Anna Wenger. Doug Brady co-exec produces, with Julie Klausner serving as head writer.
For Eichner, the Turner deal comes more than six months after the third season of Billy on the Street ended its run on Fuse. The outspoken comedian has had a banner 2014, with Hulu handing out a straight-to-series order for Amy Poehler-produced Difficult People, a scripted comedy starring Eichner and Klausner that was previously developed for USA Network; a deal to pen his first book; a huge segment on the Emmys; multiple appearances on the late-night circuit; and a guest role on Fox’s New Girl.
For TruTV, meanwhile, the news comes as the Turner-owned network is making a big push into original programming. The network recently handed out a pilot order for a workplace comedy starring and based on the business career of former NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal.
“Billy is a singular talent who exemplifies the qualities we are looking for in TruTV’s new programming, including a unique voice and vision. For that reason he is an absolutely perfect fit for the new truTV,” said Chris Linn, president and head of programming at TruTV.
Eichner is repped by WME and 3 Arts. TruTV senior vp development and original programming Marissa Ronca oversaw the efforts to bring Billy on the Street to Turner.
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