Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has given a pilot order to a half-hour comedy project from comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow and hot young prodigy Lena Dunham.

The 24-year-old Dunham wrote the untitled comedy, about the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20′s. She will also direct the pilot, star in it, and co-executive produce. Apatow and writer-producer Jenni Konner, who got her first writing job on Apatow’s Fox series Undeclared, are executive producing. Dunham is the writer, director and star of the much buzzed about feature Tiny Furniture, which won the top prize at this year’s South by Southwest. It was actually Dunham’s second feature, following the 2009 Creative Nonfiction. Like her features, the HBO project is expected to feature autobiographic elements. With so many young people delaying taking on full-blown adult responsibilities until later in life, there is a lot of attention on today’s twentysomethings and a lot of talk about the 20s becoming a new life stage called by some “emerging adulthood.”

“Lena has a unique, truthful comic voice,” Apatow said.  ”I am excited to work with her and learn from her.” Konner said she was “obsessed with working with Lena” since HBO’s entertainment president Sue Naegle gave her a copy of Tiny Furniture. “She has a staggeringly honest point of view and hilarious clear vision,” Konner said.

If the project goes to series, it will mark Apatow’s first primetime series since his short-lived cult classics Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared. After they went off the air, he focused primarily on features, building his distinct brand of raunchy big-screen comedy. At HBO, Apatow executive produces the late-night sketch comedy series Funny or Die Presents… based on the popular comedy site.

The Apatow/Dunham comedy joins HBO’s 2010 batch of pilots that includes Luck, which was already picked up to series, Tilda, Miraculous Year and All Signs of Death. Apatow, Dunham and Konner are repped by UTA.

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