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While nearly every TV network is chasing younger viewers, Spike TV is about to issue a surprising declaration: “We want to go a little older.”
The network is developing six comedy projects and a one-hour drama aimed at “older” men (meaning, in Spike’s terms, ages 25-49).
The projects include reality master Thom Beers tackling a scripted comedy set in an air traffic control tower, Saturday Night Live director Beth McCarthy Miller doing a sports comedy and a one-hour drama about an undercover cop infiltrating a militia.
But when advertisers covet young men, why go older?
“We started this network we heard you couldn’t get younger guys to be loyal to a TV network, they’re off playing video games and going online,” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay. “I think we’ve proven [that’s not true] with shows like Deadliest Warrior, Blue Mountain State, The Ultimate Fighter. We’re now trying very consciously to find things relatable to older guys and that are a little less edgy.”
Spike TV’s current median age during primetime is 36, which is quite youthful 36 by network standards.
“That would not be a bad thing at all [if the age increased],” Kay said.
The network hopes to pick up two of its new projects to series, and is particularly looking for a companion to its comedy Blue Mountain State, which recently returned for a second season.
Here are the orders, with loglines from the network:
This half-hour comedic series follows three life-long friends who comprise a beer league bowling team called the “Thunderballs.” The show chronicles their efforts to balance their battle for supremacy at the lanes with their crazy personal and family lives. The project is written by Jim and Steve Armogida (“Grounded for Life,” “The Return of Jezebel James”) and executive produced by Walt Becker (“Wild Hogs,” “Van Wilder”).
UNTITLED AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS COMEDY
The producers of “Deadliest Catch” and “Ice Road Truckers” introduce a high-stakes workplace comedy focusing on the fun-loving yet dysfunctional men and women air traffic controllers at a major international airport. The project is being penned by Andrew Waller and Mike Gagerman (“Road to Nardo”). Thom Beers and Philip D. Segal will executive produce for Original Productions.
UNTITLED BETH McCARTHY MILLER PROJECT
From acclaimed “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live” director, Beth McCarthy Miller, comes a ripped-from-the-headlines comedy about a veteran sports writer and the crazy world of modern-day athletes he reports on. The project will be executive produced by Miller and written and executive produced by Steven Brill (“Mr. Deeds,” “Little Nicky,” “The Mighty Ducks.”)
When a 30-something loser who still lives with his parents wins the multi-million dollar Powerball lottery, he decides to use his newfound wealth to buy the love and respect of his family and community. The half-hour single camera comedy comes from Ike Barinholtz, David Stassen and Steven Cragg (Mad TV) and will be produced by Principato-Young Entertainment with Peter Pricipato, Paul Young and Joel Zadak serving as executive producers.
Two misfit U.S. Army drill sergeants utilize unorthodox methods to turn an endless stream of recruits into the greatest fighting force on earth while staying one step ahead of an uptight new captain with a grudge. The show is written by Gabe Snyder and Mike Alber (“Jailbait,” MTV’s “Death Valley”).
UNTITLED FAMILY BARBECUE COMEDY
Tired of the corporate rat race, a “Clark Griswold”-type cashes in his 401k and drags his family kicking and screaming to pursue his dream of competing on the professional barbecue circuit. The show is written by veteran scribe Russell Marcus (“Married with Children”).
A gritty one-hour drama focusing on an Atlanta police officer who is recruited by the Department of Homeland Security to return to his hometown and infiltrate a militia organization linked to domestic terrorism with which he has familial ties. The project is written by Craig Gore and Tim Walsh.
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