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HBO is officially out of the Mike Judge business.
The premium cable network has opted to drop two straight-to-series orders from the Silicon Valley co-creator. Comedy QualityLand and limited series A5 are no longer moving forward at the WarnerMedia-backed outlet. Both shows were co-created and co-written by Judge and were picked up as part of his eight-figure, two-year overall deal extension that he signed in March 2019. Sources say Judge’s deal has expired and HBO declined to move forward with either of the two shows that had been in the works as part of the pact, given Judge’s focus on other projects.
The decision to pass on both shows — neither of which had begun casting — arrives as Judge is overseeing an updated take on his beloved MTV comedy, Beavis and Butt-Head, for ViacomCBS-backed Comedy Central. The ’90s sensation was picked up with a two-season order with plans for Judge to create and develop additional spinoffs from the series. Judge is Beavis and Butt-Head‘s central driving force and will write, produce and provide voices for both of the iconic characters.
The deal for Beavis was outside of Judge’s HBO pact and marked a homecoming for the creator, who launched his career with the series before going on to write and direct features Office Space and Idiocracy as well as Fox series King of the Hill and HBO’s live-action Emmy-winning comedy Silicon Valley.
QualityLand was described as the story of humanity’s struggle against the tyranny of convenience. Judge was to co-write and executive produce the pilot with Josh Lieb (Silicon Valley). The series was based on the novel of the same name by Marc-Uwe Kling and was a co-production between HBO and Lionsgate.
A5, meanwhile, was a limited series centered on a bioengineer who discovers the gene that makes a person an asshole and attempts to answer the questions nagging at all of us: Why do assholes exist? Why have they come to dominate our culture? And can they be cured? Judge was set to co-write and exec produce alongside Etan Cohen (King of the Hill, Beavis and Butt-Head).
The decision to pass on both shows arrives as HBO programming president Casey Bloys recently expanded his purview to include HBO Max. With an increased programming budget, Bloys has been reviewing originals at both the linear network and streamer as he works to refocus both platforms.
HBO’s comedy lineup includes A Black Lady Sketch Show, Barry, Betty, the final season of Insecure, Los Espookys, The Righteous Gemstones and Bridget Everett vehicle Somebody Somewhere.
THR sibling Deadline was first to report the news.
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