Dane Cook is heading to NBC to headline his own network comedy series. Amid interest from multiple networks, the actor-comedian has signed a development deal with NBC for a half-hour project targeted for next fall. Cook will star in the comedy and produce through his SUperFInger Entertainment banner. Cook is the second top stand-up comedian with cable TV roots to develop and star in a comedy for NBC eyed for next season, along with Sarah Silverman. NBC also has a new freshman comedy created by/starring comedian Whitney Cummings. Cook most recently guest starred on the FX comedy Louie last month in a much-talked-about episode where he and series star Louis CK put to rest the so-called joke-stealing controversy. While he has largely stayed away from broadcast TV until now, Cook’s first screen credit was a recurring role on the short-lived ABC comedy series Maybe This Time some 15 years ago. Cook has a very successful stand-up career: He has sold out arena venues such as Madison Square Garden and Staples Center, released several multi-platinum comedy albums and DVDs and starred in a slew of cable specials. On the feature side, UTA-repped Cook will next be seen in Answers to Nothing, Detention and Guns, Girls & Gambling.
EXCLUSIVE: Actress Sarah Chalke has signed a development/talent holding deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Under the pact, the studio will develop a half-hour comedy project for her targeted for fall 2012. 20th TV first got in business with Chalke when she recurred on the studio’s CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother from 2008-09 and then cast her as a lead in Greg Malins’ 2010 ABC pilot Freshmen. After the pilot didn’t make the cut to series in May 2010, the studio wanted to sign Chalke in a deal right away, but she was cast in CBS’ midseason comedy series Mad Love, so 20th TV brass were “determined to get her this year,” studio’s chairman Gary Newman said. “She is incredibly talented as a comic force — she can do physical comedy and has great timing. There is almost a Lucy quality to her,” he said, referring to comedy icon Lucille Ball.
Chalke will start meeting with writers shortly. Once she and the studio settle on a concept, the focus will be on developing that project but 20th executives will also keep an eye on other comedies in the works with characters that could be right for her. “She is incredibly castable,” Newman said. “We hope that the project we develop for her goes, but if it doesn’t, we will cast her in one of our other pilots.”