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This is an expanded version of a story that first appeared in the April 19-26 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
IFC is getting serious about comedy, unveiling its largest development slate yet.
The AMC Networks-owned cable network has ordered three pilots and put an additional eight scripts into development as it continues its push into the scripted arena.
Among the pilot orders is Garfunkel & Oates, a scripted comedy about the female comedy-folk duo Riki Lindhome (aka Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates), which also marks IFC’s first female-driven series.
“We’ve arrived — we hear that a lot from people in terms of IFC claiming a stake in comedy,” IFC senior vp original programming Debbie DeMontreux tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It definitely feels like we’ve stepped it up with the talent we’re working with and with the projects we’re working on. We’re serious about remaining in the comedy space.”
Joining Garfunkel & Oates — which expands IFC’s relationship with Micucci, who is among the voice cast for its Out There animated entry (and who has been recurring on CBS’ The Big Bang Theory) — on the network are International Plan, a scripted entry based on the friendship between Late Night With Jimmy Fallon writers Eric Ledgin and Michael Blieden, and Timms Industrial Piping, a stop-motion animated soap with baby dolls voiced by Nick Kroll, Elizabeth Banks and more.
As IFC prepares to launch Marc Maron‘s semi-autobiographical scripted comedy Maron in May as well as its upcoming Will Ferrell-produced The Spoils of Babylon, the network has added eight additional half-hour efforts to its development coffers from comedians that speak to IFC’s “slightly off” sensibility.
Chief among them is Two Idiots, another female-focused comedy created and written by Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and newcomer Tina Kapousis that centers on two oddball women raised in an old-world Beverly Hills Hotel and their adventures with their beleaguered butler and shared boyfriend.
“We’re really trying to broaden the scope of comedy on our air, and with that comes different genres and different sexes,” DeMontreux says of the network’s push to expand viewership.
IFC made the decision to focus on scripted comedy two years ago after seeing the success of Portlandia, with the network in talks for a fourth season of the critical darling starring Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein. The announcement of the ambitious slate comes a day before IFC meets Madison Avenue ad buyers at just its second upfront presentation. At its first upfront presentation last year, IFC introduced a slate that included two scripted entries: animated effort Out There and Maron.
A complete guide to IFC’s 11 new projects follows:
GARFUNKEL & OATES (pilot)
The pilot is a scripted comedy about the female comedy-folk duo Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates). The pilot centers on the aspirations and misadventures of this odd couple, and will spotlight the personal and professional lives of the pair, whose career choices — singing satirical and sometimes dirty songs — leaves them with little in common with their peers, and no one but each other to turn to for support and understanding. The pilot, produced by Abominable Pictures’ Jonathan Stern (Childrens Hospital, NTSF:SD:SUV::) will begin production in May in Los Angeles.
INTERNATIONAL PLAN (pilot)
A scripted comedy about two newly single guys who travel around the world looking for love, and in the process, form an invaluable friendship. The project is based on the true story of the writers: Michael Blieden (Up All Night, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) and Eric Ledgin (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon). The pilot, produced by @radical.media begins production in mid-April in Stockholm.
TIMMS INDUSTRIAL PIPING (pilot; working title)
A scripted comedy set in the fictional town of Timms Valley, Wis., where the lives and livelihoods of its citizens are intertwined with the fate of the town’s biggest employer, Timms Industrial Piping. When the company’s founder and CEO goes missing in a plane crash, the lives of the characters are turned upside down. Shot in stop-motion animation with baby dolls repurposed as an array of adult characters, and modeled on 1980s primetime soaps like Dynasty, the show is written by Steven Conrad (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Pursuit of Happyness), and created by Conrad, Jeff Dieter and Tom Glynn. The show is produced by Conrad’s Chicago-based company, Elephant Pictures. Currently in production, the pilot features the voice talents of Maria Bamford, Elizabeth Banks, Lance Barber, Giancarlo Esposito, Ed Flynn, Kathryn Hahn, Nick Kroll, Matt Levin, John Lithgow, Kumail Nanjiani, Mike O’Connell and Seann William Scott.
AMERICAN STORAGE (development)
What happens when an employee at a storage facility befriends a guy he finds living in one of the units? The project is based on the short film of the same name co-written by Andrew Jay Cohen (Townies) and Brendan O’Brien (Townies).
CULT FOLLOWING (development)
Cult Following follows two friends who jointly run a health-food restaurant and inadvertently become cult leaders. The pilot script is co-written by and co-stars Matt Besser (co-founder of the Upright Citizens Brigade, Freak Dance) and Rich Fulcher (The Mighty Boosh, Snuff Box).
GOD’S WORK (development)
Actor/comedian Kyle Dunnigan (Reno 911!, Comedy Central Presents, co-host of the Professor Blastoff podcast) plays multiple characters living in a community that surrounds a Connecticut church. The pilot script is co-written by Dunnigan and Tim Long (The Simpsons).
Part Terminator, part X-Files, part Mork and Mindy, the supernatural buddy comedy Jetpackula is written and created by Rob Schrab (The Sarah Silverman Program) and follows a washed-up comic book illustrator as he befriends a vampire from the future.
STUPID LIFE (development)
Previously announced as A Bad Idea I’m About to Do, this show’s script is based on comedian Chris Gethard‘s (The Chris Gethard Show, The Other Guys, This American Life) recent autobiographical book of the same name. Tom Scharpling (Monk) is series executive producer and co-creator. Gethard and Scharpling are co-writing the pilot script.
TRIGGER MEN (development)
Michael Davis (Shoot ‘Em Up) is writing a script for the action-buddy comedy Trigger Men. Based on a graphic novel, the story follows two friends and former hit men as one tries to clean up his act and the other pulls him deeper into trouble.
TWO IDIOTS (development)
Created and written by Megan Mullally (Will & Grace, Party Down, Children’s Hospital) and newcomer Tina Kapousis, Two Idiots follows a pair of odd women raised in an old-world Beverly Hills hotel, whose simplest everyday undertakings fly absurdly off the rails, with their beleaguered butler and a remedial shared boyfriend in tow.
IFC, in partnership with the New York Television Festival, awarded a script deal and the 2012 “Out of the Box” prize to Damian Lanigan of Brooklyn, N.Y. The project centers on a dysfunctional Main Line Philadelphia family who find that they have squandered away their money and are left with nothing but the shared ownership of an enormous family mansion.
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