TV Land’s reinvention is continuing in a big way.
The Viacom-owned cable network has tapped Hamish Linklater to star in hot comedy pilot I Shudder, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The single-camera comedy, from writer Paul Rudnick (The Addams Family Values, In & Out), has been generating solid buzz around Hollywood for its originality, fresh concept and sharp biting humor. Oscar-winner Dan Jinks (American Beauty, Milk) is set to executive produce the CBS Television Studios comedy via his Dan Jinks Co. banner alongside Rudnick. I Shudder marks Rudnick’s television writing debut.
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The dark comedy revolves around a meticulous but generous man who sees the world in very black and white terms: what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable. Linklater stars as the eccentric Elyot Vionnet, an advocate of manners, style and most importantly, common decency. Observing people committing heinous crimes of etiquette, he tries to counsel them from afar, inserting himself into their lives in a rather unwelcome fashion. When the individuals he deems classless choose not to take his advice, they are met with terrible consequences. In the midst of his mission, Elyot allies himself with his neighbor, an 11-year-old girl named Stella, to try to make the world better, one tactless person at a time.
The role marks a reunion for Rudnick with Linklater, who previously teamed for the Los Angeles production of shorts Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays.
“This pilot is a unique dark dramedy, and is truly outside the box for TV Land,” said Keith Cox, executive vp development and original programming at TV Land. “We’re excited to explore new paths of genres for the network as we continue to evolve.”
The deal comes as TV Land has been undergoing a creative reinvention — which was overseen by former network president Larry Jones — with single-camera fare including critical darling Younger (already renewed for a second season) as well as the upcoming Jim Gaffigan semi-autobiographical series (which debuts Wednesday). The cabler is also poised to debut Impastor (also launching Wednesday) and Teachers this year as it shifts away from multicamera comedies including its recently concluded Hot in Cleveland, which was its first original scripted series. I Shudder is TV Land’s first pilot pickup of the season, though the net is prepping an untitled comedy based on the life of Real Housewives star Kyle Richards with John Wells (Shameless) attached.
For Linklater, the role marks his return to series television following his co-starring role in CBS’ David E. Kelley comedy The Crazy Ones. His credits also include Aaron Sorkin‘s The Newsroom, The New Adventures of Old Christine as well as episodes of The Good Wife and The Big C. On the feature side, he has had roles in 42, Redemption Trail and Fantastic Four, among others. He’s repped by ICM Partners, Framework Entertainment and McKuin Frankel.
Rudnick is with Paradigm; Jinks is with UTA and Bloom Hergott.