Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: While NBC opted not to go forward with midseason comedy Next Caller, the network is staying in business with the series’ star Dane Cook. NBC Entertainment and sibling studio Universal Television, which co-produced Next Caller with Lionsgate TV, have inked a new deal with the actor-comedian to develop a new starring vehicle for him. Cook’s casting in Next Caller stemmed from a development deal he signed with NBC last fall. Although NBC brass didn’t like the creative direction of the show, which led to its demise four episodes into production, they liked Cook — who starred as a foul-mouthed satellite radio DJ forced to share the mic with a chipper NPR feminist (Collette Wolfe) — and wanted to keep him in the fold. “Dane Cook is one of the most talented comedians working today,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “He has a broad fan base and always fresh point of view. We are eager to get started working on his next project.” Cook is repped by UTA.

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