The forthcoming streamer has handed out a 10-episode series order and tapped Jean Smart (Watchmen) to star in the as-yet untitled project from Broad City‘s Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello and Jen Statsky and executive produced by Schur (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation).
The comedy, which will explore the dark mentorship that forms between a Las Vegas diva (Smart) and an entitled, outcast 25-year-old, was picked up to pilot in January. The series order arrives as networks and streamers alike are stocking up on scripts that can be completed remotely during the near-industrywide production shutdown so that they’re ready to begin filming once it’s considered safe to resume work.
The single-camera effort was created and is being written and executive produced by Downs and Aniello via their Paulilu banner and Statsky via her First Thought Productions. Schur exec produces via his Universal Television-based Fremulon banner. 3 Arts’ David Miner and Morgan Sackett (The Good Place) will also exec produce.
“When this dream team came to us, we jumped at the chance to develop this project, which features two complex female characters working in comedy and facing the professional and personal challenges that come along with it. When Jean Smart came aboard, we were even more delighted to move forward,” Sarah Aubrey, head of originals at HBO Max, said Tuesday in a statement. “We’re excited to be working with this winning combination of talent and confident the show will fit perfectly into our robust slate of HBO Max Originals.”
Smart, who has won three Emmys, is fresh off of HBO’s Watchmen and next stars in the premium cable network’s Mare of Easttown opposite Kate Winslet and HBO Max’s feature film Superintelligence with Melissa McCarthy. She is repped by WME and Untitled Entertainment.
Downs was a co-star, writer and EP on Comedy Central’s Broad City, where Aniello also was an EP, writer and director. The duo previously co-wrote the film Rough Night, in which Downs starred and Aniello directed. Statsky was a co-executive producer and writer on Broad City and worked with Schur on NBC’s The Good Place and Parks and Recreation. Her credits also include Netflix’s Lady Dynamite and Amazon’s Forever.
For Schur, this is his latest series for a streamer. He also has Peacock’s Ed Helms vehicle Rutherford Falls, the Netflix animated series Q-Force and NBC’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All of them are produced in partnership with Universal TV, where the prolific showrunner recently renewed his overall deal with a rich nine-figure pact.
HBO Max is set to launch May 27 with a roster of both scripted originals and library content from across the WarnerMedia brand. A premiere date for the Smart-led dark comedy series has not been determined.