Netflix is making its big push into comedy.
The streaming service has inked a massive two-season deal for Judd Apatow‘s next comedy, with the first season set to be 10 episodes (to bow in 2016) and the second season 12 episodes (in 2017). The half-hour project, titled Love, centers on two characters, Gus and Mickey, as they navigate the exhilaration and humiliation of intimacy, commitment and other things they were hoping to avoid.
Apatow penned the sought-after spec script with Brooklyn Nine-Nine writer Lesley Arfin and Super Fun Night actor-writer Paul Rust. Rust is also attached to star (as Gus) opposite Gillian Jacobs (Mickey), who has worked with Apatow on HBO’s Girls.
The last time Netflix doled out a two-season order was its first big drama foray, House of Cards, which came with producer-star Kevin Spacey and director David Fincher attached.
“Judd Apatow has a unique comedic voice that manages to be delightful, insightful and shockingly frank — often at the same time,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, adding: “Together with Paul and Lesley, he’s bringing a whole new level of agony and ecstasy to this modern-day comedy of manners.”
The project found itself at the center of a bidding war, with Hulu’s Craig Erwich said to be eager to land the project as his first series as the company’s new content chief. Ultimately, deep-pocketed Netflix was able and willing to offer more. The significant order comes as Cindy Holland, vp original content, has been vocal about her desire to build a comedy portfolio.
“Comedies of varying types are an area of extreme interest to us,” Holland said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in June. Reviving Arrested Development in 2013 was the service’s first foray into the traditional half-hour comedy space. (Orange Is the New Black was in contention as a comedy at August’s Emmy awards, but showrunner Jenji Kohan has acknowledged her hour-long series fits in neither the comedy nor the drama category.)
Love is being produced by Legendary TV, which is making a concerted push as a TV player under former Warner Bros. exec Bruce Rosenblum. The project marks an important step for Legendary, which has been a far bigger player on the film side until now. Noted Rosenblum: “We look forward to validating their support for this innovative and genuinely funny series.”
The comedy joins a critically praised portfolio for Apatow, with TV series including Girls, Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. Joining him, Arfin and Rust as executive producer on the latest entry is Brent Forrester (The Office, Simpsons).
Apatow is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Ziffren Brittenham; Rust is repped by UTA, Mosaic and Morris Yorn; Arfin is repped by UTA, Circle of Confusion and Ginsburg Daniels; and Jacobs is repped by UTA, Authentic and Lichter Grossman.