How & Why, which was ordered to pilot in March, tells the story of a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works but is otherwise clueless about life. Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) will write and direct the FX Productions pilot and executive produce alongside Anthony Bregman. The pilot marks Kaufman’s return to half-hour comedy following Fox’s Ned & Stacey, which ended its two-season run in 1997. His TV credits also include Get a Life, The Dana Carvey Show and Adult Swim’s stop-motion entry Moral Orel in 2006.
Oscar nominee Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) will star as Goodman Hesselman, host of the How & Why show at the center of the comedy. After losing his passion for the show, he is replaced by a younger host and relocates to a different town to start a similar show with significantly less stature.
The casting marks Hawkes’ latest small-screen comedy. The actor, whose credits include Deadwood, features Lincoln and Martha Marcy May Marlene, is fresh off a recurring role on HBO’s Eastbound & Down. He most recently filmed The Sessions and is in production on Everest. He’s repped by Innovative, Thruline and Morris Yorn.
Cera (Arrested Development) will portray Mendelson, Goodman’s new boss at the studio. How & Why marks the Juno, Scott Pilgrim, Superbad and This Is the End alum’s latest small-screen gig following his well-known role as George-Michael Bluth in Netflix’s Arrested Development and his voice role in Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital. He’s repped ICM Partners, Amanda Rosenthal, Thruline and Lichter Grossman.
Production on How & Why will begin in the spring in North Carolina.