Upright Citizens Brigade’s Jordan Klepper has been tapped as a new regular correspondent on Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. He will make his first appearance tonight, reporting “live” from Ukraine. He joins fellow correspondents Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, Aasif Mandvi and Jessica Williams. Daily Show‘s Best F*&#ing News Team Ever! has been short a correspondent following the recent exit by John Oliver who got a weekly show on HBO. Klepper has been a regular performer at the UCB Theatre in New York City for three years and has had multiple long-running shows, several with his wife and frequent collaborator, Laura Grey.
Comedy Central has promoted Brooke Posch to SVP, Original Programming and Development. Posch, formerly VP, will continue to oversee development and production on all East Coast-based Comedy Central original pilots and series, including Amy Poehler’s Broad City, which was just renewed for a second season, and Inside Amy Schumer. She is currently developing projects with Hannibal Buress, Chris Gethard and Lorne Michaels’ digital platform, Above Average. “Brooke is so personable and has such finely-tuned creative instincts she could do anything she wants in this business,” said Comedy Central’s president of original programming Kent Alterman. “I’m just grateful she’s letting me be her boss.” Prior to Comedy Central, Posch served as VP, Comedy and Animation at MTV and as Director of Development/Executive Producer at Crossroads Television.
The odd-couple comedy adapted from Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s digital series is coming back for more. Broad City, about two NYC friends navigating their way through the life’s minutiae, launched last month on Comedy Central and is averaging 1.2M viewers at 10:30 PM Wednesdays. Jacobson and Glazer star as broke, flawed twentysomethings who constantly meet the challenges the Big City throws at them, no matter how bad it gets. Hannibal Buress, Arturo Castro, Paul Downs, John Gemberling, Chris Gethard and Stephen Schneider co-star. Jacobson and Glazer executive produce along with Amy Poehler, Dave Becky, Sam Saifer and Tony Hernandez.
UPDATED: Comedy Central’s Nathan Fielder Behind “Dumb Starbucks” Stunt; Health Department Shuts It Down
2ND UPDATE, 5:50 PM: Los Angeles County health officials shut down the Dumb Starbucks operation late Monday afternoon for “operating without a valid public health permit” following company “President” Nathan Fielder’s revealing news conference today. “Employees” on site say they have no idea when it will reopen.
PREVIOUS UPDATE, 4:15 PM: Comedy Central‘s Nathan Fielder is the mastermind behind the pop up art installation/social experiment slash TV stunt known as Dumb Starbucks. “I’m proud to announce we’ll be opening our second Starbucks in Brooklyn, New York soon… This really caught on so I’m going to ride it out,” he announced today. Fielder’s Nathan For You docu-reality series debuted last year on Comedy Central with the Canadian comedian frequently setting up similar real life hoaxes and gags in the public. In today’s media scrum he acknowledged that since Dumb Starbucks currently lacks health permits “legally speaking, we are operating as an art gallery.” One production design expert tells us the signage and materials used to create Dumb Starbucks’ elaborate environment might have cost as much as $30K. Today’s line was still out the door, and the media attention drew officers from the LA County Health Department who were seen barreling into the store shortly before the afternoon press conference. A film crew has been shooting at the location and filmed today’s …
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central has given a pilot green light to Legends, an animated comedy from Bento Box Entertainment. This marks the first pilot order for Bento Box since the primetime animation studio expanded its business into developing and producing its own original animated content last summer with the hire of Mike Clements as head of the newly formed Creative Development and Original Programming Division.
Legends is described as an urban animated comedy centering on a trio of high school basketball players who are legends in their own minds – and really, nowhere else. Freshmen benchwarmers and friends Jamal, Grover and Milk try and mostly fail to make an impression at Bluford High, whether it’s on the court or with the ladies. The project was created and developed by animator Brad Ableson (The Simpsons), Clements, sports producers Quinn Hawking (ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network) and Josiah Johnson (NFL Network, Jim Rome On Showtime) as well as writer Michael Starburry (The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete). Additionally, Hawking will voice Jamal and Johnson will voice Grover and Milk as the two are bringing their experience as former UCLA basketball benchwarmers to the project. Abelson and Starrbury executive produce with Bento Box’s Mike Clements and the company’s founders Scott Greenberg, Mark McJimsey and Joel Kuwahara. Bento Box is building on an existing relationship with Comedy Central — the …
Ashley Zukerman has been cast as one of the leads in WGN America’s 13-episode scripted series Manhattan. The show, from writer Sam Shaw and director Thomas Schlamme, Skydance TV, Tribune Studios and Lionsgate TV, is set during the clandestine mission to build the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, NM, and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families. Zukerman will play Charlie Abrams, a super-bright, self-described “numbers guy” with an IQ of 180 and a good sense of humor. Zukerman next will be seen in the six-part Australian thriller The Code for ABC1. Other TV credits include a recurring on Fox’s Terra Nova. He also guested in a multi-episode arc on HBO’s The Pacific and starred in Australian drama series Rush. Zukerman is repped in the U.S. by APA and Cohn/Torgan Management and in Australia by Lisa Mann Management.
Whitmer Thomas has been signed as co-lead opposite Nick Turner in Comedy Central‘s single-camera comedy pilot Crazy House. Written and co-executive produced by Turner and Lee Rubenstein, the project revolves around two friends who, after accidentally sending their boss into a coma via an office prank, successfully plead insanity and are sentenced to an asylum. Thomas just wrapped the lead role in the Andrew O’Connor-directed indie May The Best Man Win. A stand-up comic, Thomas is with the alternative comedy collective Power Violence and also produces a weekly …
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central is betting big on actress-comedian Natasha Leggero. The comedian, who garnered a lot of attention with her wild set as a roaster at last year’s Comedy Central Roast Of James Franco, is a voice cast member of Comedy Central’s animated series Brickleberry and a recurring guest panelist on the network’s breakout new late-night show, @midnight. Now Comedy Central has greenlighted a scripted pilot starring and executive produced by Leggero and a stand-up special headlined by her.
The pilot, Another Period, hails from Ben Stiller’s Red Hour, with Drunk History co-creator/director Jeremy Konner directing. It was created by and stars Leggero and Riki Lindhome as Victorian-era heiresses. Shot reality style, the comedy follows the misadventures of Newport’s first family, The Bellacourts, a family with nothing to offer the world, but who have so much money that it doesn’t matter. The show centers around the oldest Bellacourt sisters, Lillian (Leggero) and Beatrice (Lindhome), who care only about how they look, what parties they are invited to and becoming famous — which is a lot harder in 1902. Leggero and Lindhome executive produce with Konner and Red Hour. Leggero previously starred on the first season of Red Hour’s popular online series Burning Love.
Chris Hardwick‘s dream guests on his Comedy Central show @midnight: “Jon Hamm, Tom Hanks, Mel Brooks — Joan Rivers would be great,” he answered today at the TCA Winter TV Press Tour. “They just know how to connect with an audience, they’re natural performers. It’s not comedy that drives the show — it’s comfort,” Hardwick said. @midnight uses a rotating lineup of comedians as they battle nightly for meaningless points doled out by host Hardwick, based on their take on the day’s social media and pop culture. Hardwick started his Q&A with a filibuster, walking TV critics though how the game is played — though it’s been on the air for a while now — including one full-on Buzzfeed Brown-nose, in which he asked critics in the room to guess which of three tweets he would read was a real tweet from Buzzfeed’s Kate Aurthur. The tweets also appeared on two screens in the room in letters about a foot tall. Answer: All Three! ”I hate to interrupt, but the show has been on the air for some time — some of us have seen it,” one critic snarked peevishly, speaking for the room.
“I’m so glad you asked that!” Amy Poehler said when asked about Saturday Night Live’s recent hiring of its first black female cast member in five years, Sasheer Zamata. Poehler, who’d come to the TCA Winter TV Press Tour to talk about Comedy Central’s new series Broad City, told critics that in a recent interview she was “misquoted out of context” as if she had passed on responding to the SNL hire of the Upright Citizens Brigade alum. The talent search, which involved 12 finalists invited to audition on the SNL stage, also resulted in two staff writer hires on the veteran NBC late-night show. “I’ve not gotten a chance to say congratulations. UCB is proud,” said Poehler, a UCB founder, noting Zamata was part of UCB’s diversity program. She also congratulated the writers, Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes. “It’s awesome to see all those new faces on SNL.”
As for Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, which she is co-hosting with Tina Fey for a second year? “How are you this laid back this close to the Golden Globes?” a critic asked Poehler. ”Heavily medicated,” she replied. But not so “medicated” she’d reveal anything she and Fey have up their sleeve. “I can’t spoil anything,” she said apologetically — but not. The male critic asked if there would be nudity. “Are you planning on being nude as you watch?” Poehler shot back.
Comedy Central has picked up to series pilot Big Time In Hollywood, FL with a 10-episode order. The project, produced by Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, is written by Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf. It follows two delusional brothers and self-proclaimed filmmakers, played by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson, who are kicked out of their parents’ house and forced to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives, leading them on an epic journey in pursuit of their American dream. Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky play the brothers’ parents, and Jon Bass co-stars in the series, whose pilot was directed by Schimpf. “Ben, Alex and Dan have fulfilled my career-long dream of having a show based in Hollywood, FL,” said Comedy Central president of original programming Kent Alterman. Added Stiller, “Big Time combines the directorial style of Hitchcock, the acting prowess of Streep, the budget of House Of Payne, and the nutritional value of Velveeta. I think people’s minds will be blown wide open. For real.” Stiller is executive producing the series with Anfanger and Schimpf, along with Red Hour’s Debbie Liebling, Stuart Cornfeld and Mike Rosenstein, and Brillstein’s Lee Kernis and Brian Stern.
Comedy Central Greenlights Animated Cop Comedy Series Produced By Rob Lowe & Will Gluck And Voiced By Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte & Kate Mara
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central has given a 10-episode order to animated comedy series Moonbeam City, an absurdist take on the gritty, sex-drenched crime dramas from the 1980s. Created and executive produced by Scott Gairdner (Conan), executive produced by Olive Bridge Entertainment’s Will Gluck and Richard Schwartz and produced by Rob Lowe, Moonbeam City features a voice cast led by Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte and Kate Mara. It follows undercover detective Dazzle Novak (Lowe), a handsome idiot who commits more crimes than most criminals. His tyrannical chief, Pizzaz Miller (Banks), won’t get off his back, and hotshot rookie Rad Cunningham (Forte) is dying to see him fail. With the world against him, Dazzle is thrust into a living nightmare: having to do actual police work. Gairdner and Olive Bridge developed the project, which falls outside of Olive Bridge’s deal with Sony TV, and took it to Lowe who came on board to star and produce. “I was hoping for 10,000 episodes, but 10 is a good start,” said Gairdner. Retorted Comedy Central’s president of original programming Kent Alterman, “Had Scott just asked, we would have given him a 10,000-episode order. Oh well, lesson learned for him.” Mark Brooks serves as supervising director, with animation by Titmouse.
Comedy Central has unveiled its winter schedule, which includes new seasons of @midnight, Kroll Show, Workaholics, Tosh.0, and Inside Amy Schumer. @midnight returns on January 6, running Monday-Thursday at midnight, of course; the Season 2 premiere of Kroll Show is set for January 14 at 10:30 PM; Workaholics‘ Season 4 debut follows January 22 at 10 PM; the sixth season of Tosh.O debuts February 18 at 10 PM, and Inside Amy Schumer‘s Season 2 will debut on April 1. Comedy Central also will premiere three new series. Broad City, a scripted comedy from Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer about two twentysomething best friends in New York City, will bow January 22 following Workaholics at 10:30 PM; Review, starring Andy Daly as a critic who reviews the experiences of life itself, will premiere at 10 PM on February 27; and TripTank, a weekly half-hour series showcasing various animated comedy shorts, debuts April 2 at 10:30 PM. Second seasons of Nathan For You and Drunk History will premiere in summer 2014.
Comedy Central is locking in its flagship series for three more years, giving Daniel Tosh’s Tosh.0 a three-season renewal. The first new season under the deal, the upcoming Season 6, will consist of 30 episodes and will premiere on February 18. The renewal news comes as Tosh.0 wraps its fifth season tonight. “We believe Tosh.0 has the potential to resonate with our audience, and we want to give it time to connect,” Comedy Central’s president Kent Alterman quipped. Added Tosh, “I am extremely fortunate and very grateful that I can continue to work with such fun and talented people on a very supportive network. Sorry for the lack of snark – I will leave that open for the comments section.” This fall, Tosh.0 ranks as the #1 entertainment series on all of television on Tuesday nights among Men 18-24. It averages 3.0 million total viewers and a 2.2 in Adults 18-49. Three-year renewals are reserved only for top performers. Comedy Central’s other marquee primetime series, South Park, also has a three-season pickup, and the network’s highly rated late-night franchises The Daily Show and The Colbert Report also get multi-year orders.
Days before its sophomore-season finale, the weekly send-up of low-budget public access programs has been greenlighted for a third run. The Eric Andre Show, which airs Thursday nights as part of Turner’s Adult Swim programming block, stars comic Eric Andre and his sidekick Hannibal Buress. It’s produced by Abso Lutely Prods. and executive produced by Andre, Andrew Barchilon, Kitao Sakurai and Dave Kneebone.
Global Showbiz Briefs: BT Nets NBA Games; Comedy Central Has New Overseas Projects; Salman Khan; BAFTA; More
BT Sport Scores NBA Games In Multi-Year Deal
Britain’s aggressive BT Sport has closed a multi-year, multi-platform deal with the NBA for up to 200 games a season including regular and playoff action. Although BT has been facing off with rival Sky, which previously had the NBA games under a short-term deal, I understand the News Corp-controlled company did not bid on rights for the coming basketball seasons. BT will broadcast up to seven live games per week in the UK and Ireland starting with the Pacers at the Clippers on December 1st. Sunday games will air in UK primetime. Also included in the partnership will be several magazine shows like NBA Action, NBA Inside Stuff, NBA Tonight and NBA Countdown, while some games will stream live online.
The stand-up series hybrid Adam Devine’s House Party has been renewed for a second season, with eight episodes ordered to air in 2014. The first season currently airs at 12:30 AM Thursdays and revolves around Devine’s massive party in an LA mansion, with up-and-coming comedians stopping by to perform stand-up sets on a backyard stage. Each episode mixes scripted storylines with stand-up. ”Giving Adam Devine money to throw a house party stand-up series proved to be so irresponsible, we couldn’t resist doing it again,” said Kent Alterman, President, Content Development and Original Programming, Comedy Central. The Avalon Television-produced series is exec produced by Devine, Avalon’s Jon Thoday, Richard Allen-Turner, David Martin, Isaac Horne, and Kyle Newacheck, who directed the first season.
Comedy Central has greenlighted Crazy House, a single-camera comedy pilot written and co-executive produced by stand-up comedians Nick Turner and Lee Rubenstein. The project revolves around two friends who, after accidentally sending their boss into a coma via an office prank, successfully plead insanity and are sentenced to an asylum. Turner is part of Comedy Central’s Stand-Up roster. He is a regular on the comedy festival circuit and has appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Rubenstein is a contributor to SNL’s “Weekend Update” and co-host of UCB’s Celebrity Barf Machine.
Comedy Central Orders Pilot For New York Public Access Staple ‘The Chris Gethard Show’ From Funny Or Die, Zach Galifianakis
EXCLUSIVE: This is the dream of every public access show: New York’s cult weekly program The Chris Gethard Show will be making the leap from the local Manhattan Neighborhood Network to Comedy Central. The cable network has ordered a pilot for TCGS, a live, interactive call-in show with roots at the UCB Theater NY, which blends talk, variety and game elements. It will be produced by Funny Or Die, looking to repeat the success it’s had with another Comedy Central talk show, new late-night entry @midnight, which was just picked up for 40 weeks. Brillstein Entertainment Partners is co-producing, with Gethard and Zach Galifianakis exec producing alongside Funny Or Die’s Will Ferrell, Owen Burke, Adam McKay and Mike Farah as well as Brillstein’s Brian Stern. TCGS, whose episodes often are based on original bits, has featured such guests as Galifianakis, Sean Combs, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, John Mulaney, Bobby Moynihan and Andrew WK. The show also is known for championing the Brooklyn music scene and New York’s fringe artists and oddballs.
2ND UPDATE FRIDAY 7:50 AM: Comedy Central just officially announced the 40-week pickup for @midnight, whose production calendar will mirror that of Comedy Central’s other late-night shows, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. “We’re amazed at how quickly ‘@midnight’ has resonated with our fans,” said the network’s Kent Alterman. “If the internet catches on and social media becomes a part of pop culture, we think we’ll really have something here.”
UPDATE 9:08 PM: Chris Hardwick just confirmed the pickup news on @midnight, announcing that the show will return with new episodes on January 6. “This was an experiment we did for a month, you guys watch, you join in the #HashtagWars, and we are so, so, so, so grateful,” he told the studio audience.
EXCLUSIVE 9 PM: Comedy Central‘s late-night block is officially expanding to 1.5 hours. I’ve learned that after a successful four-week trial run, which ends tonight, the network’s newest late-night entry — midnight show @midnight hosted by Chris Hardwick and produced by Funny or Die — is being given a big vote of confidence with a 40-week pickup. The renewal is not surprising given how strong the show has done in Comedy Central’s target young and male demos. @midnight has the lowest median age in late-night, 32. In Men 18-34 (237,000 through 11/10), Men 18-24 (106,000) and persons 18-24 (142,000), @midnight is the third-highest-ranked late-night show in all of television …