Here's some perfectly timed news for Halloween: NBC just added a new comedy project all about witches. THR reports that the network has given a script commitment to an untitled single-cam series from former 30 Rock writers/co-executive producers Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan about a group of friends "who grow closer when one of them 'comes out' to the group — as a witch." Siegal and Morgan will also serve as co-executive producers on the project, which makes the second witch-themed show ordered by the NBC this week — the network also ordered a Bewitched reboot set two generations after the original ABC series on Wednesday.
Elizabeth Banks just added another behind-the-scenes gig. On top of producing a web series and directing the upcoming film Pitch Perfect 2, Deadline reports that Banks is now producing a series in development at ABC called The Greater Good. The single-cam comedy is described as a "comedic X-Files, a relationship/workplace comedy set in the world of conspiracy theories" and was written by Caroline Williams, who created the 2008 ABC sitcom Miss Guided and has also written for The Office, Modern Family, Arrested Development, and BoJack Horseman.
Yesterday Chris Gethard posted a bizarre clip from this week's TCGS showing what appeared to be a brawl with an angry public access producer named Smith, which turned out to be an elaborate stunt he planned with comedian Brett Davis. Gethard explained the behind-the-scenes process of the segment in a new post on his blog, where he breaks down the origins of the idea, who knew about it beforehand, and the resulting backlash by some TCGS fans who felt duped. "What you saw on last night's show is what happens when one of the most committed comedians I've ever seen plays it as real as possible," Gethard says in the post. "That's really all we were going for — not to deceive or sadden or anything else — just to execute what we thought was a funny idea while handing it off to one of my favorite comedians in NYC right now." Here's what Gethard had to say about some of the less amused responses to the bit:
I have seen online that some of our fans are pissed at us and feel like we tricked them. We weren’t setting out to trick. We were setting out to put on a good comedy show. So I don’t really feel like I should apologize, so much as I should say that I am even more in awe of the comedic abilities of Mr. Brett Davis now than I was heading into last night. He nailed it to the point that people were writing essays and debating the meaning of community. That’s good comedy.
Read the rest of the post over on Gethard's blog.
DirecTV has teamed up with CollegeHumor's production team Big Breakfast for a Downton Abbey parody called The Britishes. Deadline reports that the eight-sketch series will star Peter Serafinowicz and Will Sasso and feature supporting performers like CollegeHumor regulars Elaine Carroll and Josh Ruben. Here's a full description of the series:
The Britishes revolves around the absurd, class-obsessed, extremely British residents of an Edwardian-era English estate off the fictional "coast of Knob." With roots so deep in aristocracy that their surname is actually "British," the family has fought through the decades—against progress, against technology and, essentially, against all common sense—in an effort to preserve a regal way of life. The Britishes are a dying breed, hysterically desperate to uphold tradition as the world around them becomes more modern.
The Britishes will make its television debut on DirecTV's Audience Network on October 28th. "The Britishes is more than a Downton Abbey parody, it's a love ballad to British comedy, which—thanks to my British mother—is the comedy I grew up watching," said Big Breakfast President Sam Reich on the project. "Peter Serafinowicz and Will Sasso go together like Marmite and butter. It's a British thing." Check out one of the sketches titled "The Charming Mr. Hitler" below: READ MORE
Earlier this year, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions added a female-centric label called Gloria Sanchez, and the company just added a new project to its slate. Variety reports that Gloria Sanchez has teamed up with The Weinstein Company to produce a comedy called Plus One, which follows "a woman who comes out of a long-term relationship only to realize that all her friends have married off — leaving her with an oversharing wild card as the only option for a wing woman." No casting decisions have been revealed yet, but the script comes from April Prosser, whose screenplay The One That Got Away was named on the Black List in 2012. "We’re thrilled to be on board with this hilarious and smart film by talented up-and-comer April Prosser," Harvey Weinstein said in a statement. "Her script drew one of the strongest responses from our team that I’ve seen in a while." For more on Gloria Sanchez Productions, check out our interview with founder Jessica Elbaum from February.
During last night's show, Conan O'Brien debuted the above video "The Fantastic Mystery of Shaq's Penis," an animated take on a weird story about Shaq Adam Sandler told when he was a guest on the show last year: "He's funnier than any of us. Swear to God. There's all comedians in the movie — every time they do a scene, everybody walks away and goes 'Shaq is funnier than me?'"
A day after announcing the development of three new comedy series, ABC has added yet another with THR's report that the network has given a put-pilot commitment to a medical comedy called Family Practice. Written by doctor/writer Simon Stephenson — who wrote an episode of the UK series Eleventh Hour as well as a memoir Let Not the Waves of the Sea — the comedy "centers on a dysfunctional family of doctors who run a family practice in small town America." Stephenson will executive produce alongside Dan Fogelman, who is also serving as an EP on an in-the-works ABC comedy series based on the life of Carson Daly.
Last night's Chris Gethard Show started out with an innocent concept: Bring 200 kazoos to the Manhattan Neighborhood Network studio and see what happens. Things took an unexpected turn when Gethard called out an MNN producer (he called himself only "Smith") who was brooding nearby during the taping, which ultimately turned into an ugly confrontation over why Smith, and allegedly other MNN members, can't stand TCGS: "You're using a public platform to further your own narcissism." It gets more and more awkward with each dig Smith makes at TCGS — which he calls "an ad for unemployment" and "the Party City show" — but the whole thing devolves into chaos at the end when Smith trips over a seated audience member and snaps.
UPDATE: Turns out this was a very Kaufman-esque stunt pulled by comedian Brett Davis — and a very well played one at that. Can we ever trust the new and improved TCGS again? As long as they keep pulling off hilariously bizarre moments like the one above, it's all good.
Jerry Seinfeld's Crackle web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee returns with a new round of episodes on November 6th with guests like Jimmy Fallon, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, and Fred Armisen, and today the streaming network released a tense teaser video featuring Seinfeld's old TV neighbor Michael Richards as the cigar-sucking Crackle president Dick Corcoran.
David Cross was recently a guest on the Comedian's Comedian Podcast with host Stuart Goldsmith, and after the interview Cross agreed to give Goldsmith the finale track of his 2004 album It's Not Funny that label Sub Pop refused to release. The track includes Cross's own pandering country song called "Clapping in the USA" as well as a voice cameo from H. Jon Benjamin as God Himself. "If you listen to the CD you can certainly tell (the current final track) is not a closing bit," Cross told Goldsmith. "Sub Pop got nervous and I was furious, I was apoplectic, I can't believe you're taking this away… This is a bit that was cut out because Sub Pop was afraid they were gonna get sued, but this is the original ending of the CD."
Craig Ferguson's Late Late Show successor just got an official premiere date. THR reports that The Late Late Show with James Corden will premiere on the network on Monday, March 9th. The show will tape at the CBS Television City lot in Los Angeles, and the network has also signed on British writer/producer/director Ben Winston — who currently works as executive producer on the British X Factor — as Late Late Show showrunner. "We're excited to begin CBS's next chapter after midnight and introduce James' wide range of performance talents and fearless creative instincts to American television viewers," CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler said in a statement. "He and Ben have been friends for a long time and partnered together on a variety of successful projects. They are a creatively dynamic and very energetic host/producer combination." No word yet on when CBS's other late night successor Stephen Colbert will take over for Letterman when he leaves sometime next year.
UPDATE: The Wrap reports that CBS will invite a group of rotating hosts to take over Late Late Show between the time Craig Ferguson leaves on December 19th and Corden takes over in March. No potential guests hosts have been revealed yet, but the idea has certainly worked out for the network in the past.
Over the summer it was announced that FX passed on Charlie Kaufman's comedy pilot starring Michael Cera and John Hawkes, but now Kaufman has a new project in the works with a big comedy star. Deadline reports that Kaufman has signed on to rewrite the film adaptation for IQ 83 based on Arthur Herzog's 1978 science fiction novel about a virus outbreak that lowers humanity's IQs, and Steve Carell is attached to star. Here's a description of the book via Coming Soon:
You are Dr. James Healey and last week you were a genius. That was before the DNA experiments. Before the accident you said could never happen… Since then you have felt your mind decaying a little more each day. You have watched your wife slip into imbecility. You have seen the crowds growing murderous with animal terror, the President of the United States babbling and drooling on TV… Only one thing separates you from them. You, at least, know what is happening as you search for the cure for the horror you have unleashed upon the world—as each day the dimming of your mind lowers your chance of finding it!
The IQ 83 adaptation has been in the works for nearly 20 years, and though the book was written as "serious science fiction," the vision for the film is reportedly "to do a scathing satire, on the order of Doctor Strangelove." Considering that Carell has been delving into dramatic roles lately with Foxcatcher, a satirical sci-fi adaptation written by Charlie Kaufman sounds like a very interesting match.
H. Jon Benjamin and Eugene Mirman just opened up an online store. Called Flotsam General Store, the "post-structural online shopping experience" currently offers a small-sized "Mystery Sack" for $40 and free 6-8+ week shipping. What's in the sacks? According to the store's FAQ, "Flotsam sacks are stocked according to the principes of 'positive sourcing,' with three or more Flotsam products hand-conceived by the Flotsam Design Team." Benjamin said in an interview last month that the items included in each sack will be "products that will leave a legacy. Something to be proud of for time immemorial." Here's more information on Benjamin and Mirman's new business venture from the store's "About" page:
From a rocky perch, a figure stands watching the waves crash in eternal repetition. Is he looking for something or is he waiting for something he has already found? For a lifetime of looking, maybe nothing will come and for a lifetime of waiting, maybe nothing returns. Flotsam is dedicated to the principle that sometimes, what we seek can eventually find us. Our goal is to never know.
Flotsam offers three sacs of hand-chosen items that are hand-hewn by machines in America and are shipped directly to you. What you receive depends on what we choose for you in the moment. In this way, a symbiotic chain is created between producer and consumer. Our mission is to always build on that chain, until that chain enwraps all of us and we are thusly bound together, chained.
With a mission like that, what are you waiting for? Head over to the Flotsam store to buy your own sack today. "$40 is not a big consumer risk," Mirman says on the investment. Benjamin adds: "Look at Maurice McDonald, who started McDonald's. He had $40, and look what happened."
Here's a clip from Wyatt Cenac's visit to Conan from last night, where he reveals which big comedy star booked an upcoming show in Madison, Wisconsin not only the same night as his show, but in a theater across the street from where Cenac is scheduled to perform. Thankfully he already has experience competing with big name celebrities, which he describes in cringeworthy detail. Watch more from his interview below: READ MORE