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Showtime and Bad Robot are teaming again, with the pay cable network and the production company behind the short-lived Cameron Crowe dramedy Roadies partnering on a new comedy, The Wrong Mans.
The half-hour, single-camera effort — which is based on the BBC series created by and starring James Corden and Matthew Baynton — has been given a pilot production commitment by Showtime. Ben Schwartz (House of Lies) is slated to star in the new iteration, which will be written by Corden, Baynton and Ian Maxtone-Graham. Jim Field Smith is set to direct.
The Wrong Mans is an action-comedy about two ordinary office workers (one played by Schwartz) who have their menial existence turned upside-down by a chance phone call and a case of mistaken identity: “If you are not here by 5 o’clock, we will kill your wife.” As the only people who can help, these two unlikely characters must find their inner hero in their quest to save not just themselves, but their loved ones and ultimately their whole town.
The project hails from J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and Corden’s Fulwell 73 Productions, in association with BBC Studios and Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers include Abrams, Ben Stephenson, Corden, Baynton, Maxtone-Graham, Smith and BBC Studios’ Angie Stephenson. Schwartz will be a producer.
The project marks a key move for Bad Robot, which via its overall deal with Warner Bros. TV has been expanding beyond dramatic fare into more comedy of late. The company has a RuPaul dramedy in the works at Hulu, along with a Jesse Eisenberg comedy project that has yet to find a home. Bad Robot also has HBO’s Westworld, which is set to return for its second season on April 22, and the upcoming Stephen King anthology series Castle Rock, due out this summer on Hulu.
For Showtime, The Wrong Mans joins the network’s original comedy slate, which includes Frankie Shaw’s SMILF, Shameless, I’m Dying Up Here and the upcoming Jim Carrey comedy Kidding. It’s also the CBS Corp.-owned cabler’s third pilot order, following the Don Cheadle comedy Ball Street and the Kevin Bacon drama City on a Hill from Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
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Thomas Brodie Sangster