EXCLUSIVE: EPIX and Media Rights Capital have made a team for iCON, a comedy series pilot that will be developed by Larry Charles, the Emmy-winning TV writer/producer, and the director of the Sacha Baron Cohen features Borat and Bruno. Charles will oversee development of the script and will direct the half-hour pilot of a series written by Dan Lyons. A technology consultant for Newsweek, Lyons created the Fake Steve Jobs blog and wrote the novel Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs—A Parody.
The show’s lead character, Tom Rhodes, is a composite of Jobs and other Silicon Valley titans, and the comedy is described as a savage satire, a study of ego, power and greed.
The deal marks the latest move by EPIX president Mark Greenberg to create original programming that will be compatible to the slates of movies that will be provided by EPIX partners Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate. iCON becomes the second original pilot for the EPIX pay channel. Sam Shepard stars in the first one, Tough Trade, and more deals are coming.
MRC will serve as the studio and financier. The company said it had several bidders for the property, but chose EPIX because Charles could be as edgy as he wanted to be. The feeling is that the show could put EPIX on the map the way series like Mad Men did for AMC, Weeds for Showtime, and Burn Notice for USA. Charles worked with MRC on the Baron Cohen films, and he’s TV royalty, with series credits that include Seinfeld, Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. While Entourage might have originally been informed by the relationship between exec producer Mark Wahlberg, his agent Ari Emanuel and manager Steve Levinson, the Doug Ellin-created show became a broader statement on Hollywood. Jobs and other titans will certainly inspire iCON at its inception, but the show will lampoon the larger hi-tech world. Charles will be swinging for the fences.
“We are attempting to do nothing less than a modern Citizen Kane,” Charles said. “A scabrous satire of Silicon Valley and its most famous citizen. We needed a bold environment to nurture such a vision. One that was free of pre-conceived ideas. And EPIX made it clear they were that place. They asked us to make their home our home. And we have.”