IFC has unveiled a slate of new and returning comedy projects, along with projects in development, ahead of its upfront tonight in New York. New programming for 2015 includes American Documentary (working title), a docu-parody created by Saturday Night Live vets Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers; and American Storage (working title), a scripted half-hour comedy starring Rob Huebel (Childrens Hospital, Human Giant). IFC is also collaborating with CollegeHumor on the first-ever Comedy Music Awards, a satire of traditional awards shows incorporating the best of the comedy and music worlds. Returning for an expanded fourth season is Comedy Bang! Bang! hosted by Scott Aukerman (Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis), and a sophomore season of its original sketch comedy The Birthday Boys, executive produced by Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad) and Ben Stiller, featuring the LA comedy troupe of the same name. IFC is also currently developing Westside from Joel McHale (Community), and The Bank from Teri Weinberg (Ugly Betty). The slate comes out a week after Pete Aronson was tapped as IFC’s new head of original programming. Here is the full list:
Fred Armisen let us know he was leaving Saturday Night Live back in May — we just couldn’t hear him. “I think it’s clear. I didn’t do any kind of official announcements, but I really felt like it was obvious,” he said in an interview with Splitsider, making us feel pretty silly for wondering all these weeks. He’s referencing the May 18 SNL season wrapper, in which the final sketch featured him, Bill Hader, Jason Sedeikis and Taran Killam as Brit rockers on the final night of their tour. Another clue we missed: Armisen’s Portlandia co-star Carrie Brownstein was among the musicians onstage. Armisen, in Friday’s interview, called it “an ending that was a love letter to all the music I grew up with, and also to my friends and to SNL and to [exec producer] Lorne [Michaels] and to the cast.” Armisen said he left, after 11 years on the NBC late-night show, because it put him in good company: Hader was leaving, and Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg had left. And, besides, Portlandia was taking more of his time. Plus, he explained, it was “just a feeling.”
IFC has given flagship series Portlandia a two-season renewal. The 10-episode Season 4 and Season 5 of the off-beat comedy will premiere in early 2014 and early 2015, respectively. The Emmy-nominated series is created and written by stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and director Jonathan Krisel. Portlandia is executive produced by Lorne Michaels and produced by Broadway Video. “Portlandia has celebrated sustainable local agriculture, underemployment, avian crafting, gender politics, intense bicycle messengers and so much more,” said IFC’s president and GM Jennifer Caserta. “We can now celebrate two more seasons.”
In November, the United States re-elected President Barack Obama, but months earlier, Saturday Night Live introduced its own new “president” when relative newcomer Jay Pharoah replaced Fred Armisen in regularly portraying Obama on the show during the campaign. After today’s TCA panel on IFC’s Portlandia, which stars Armisen, Deadline asked the actor how he has felt about this political transition. “It feels incredible, it makes me feel like I am part of something bigger,” Armisen said, sounding as dreamy and earnest as the eccentric characters of Portlandia. “It’s like SNL is its own living thing and we are just a part of that. Now we’ve both helped to paint this picture of the president. We’ve made some kind of art together.” Armisen said he will “never” portray Obama again on the show, but watching the younger actor in the role of POTUS “makes me feel very proud.”
EXCLUSIVE: Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Brie Larson and Fred Armisen will star in Relanxious, a relationship comedy that marks the directorial debut of writer Christopher Storer. The film will be produced by Daniel Dubiecki, who recently launched The Allegiance Theater; and Lorene Scafaria, writer/director of the upcoming Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Relanxious will shoot this summer in Chicago.
Wilde plays Barrett, an anxiety-ridden woman who meets and is smitten with George. Played by Sudeikis, George is agoraphobic and so their courtship is limited to phone conversations in which they discuss the dates they would go on if their phobias didn’t stand in the way. As the fantasies develop, the two must decide if they can put aside their fears in order to find real-life romance. Larsen plays Barrett’s sister, and Armisen plays George’s friend and only contact with the outside world. Wilde recently wrapped the Steve Carell-Jim Carrey comedy Burt Wonderstone, while Saturday Night Live castmember Sudeikis starred in Horrible Bosses. Larsen is in 21 Jump Street and Sudeikis’ fellow SNL castmember Armisen is moonlighting on the IFC series Portlandia. WME packaged the film.
Three episodes into original, short-based comedy series Portlandia, IFC has renewed for a second season. The network has picked up 10 half-hour episodes of the series created, written by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Portland-native Carrie Brownstein for a January 2012 premiere. IFC only released cumed audience for the first 3 episodes: 1.1 million total viewers, more than 700,000 adults 18-49. Portlandia, based on web series ThunderAnt, which Armisen and Brownstein produced together, is shot entirely on location in Portland and is directed, co-created and co-written by Jonathan Krisel. It is executive produced by Lorne Michaels and produced by Broadway Video.
IFC has greenlit “Portlandia,” an original short-based comedy series about the people and values of Portland, Ore. SNL‘s Fred Armisen and singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein star. Armisen and Brownstein will write the series with Allison Silverman and Jonathan Krisel. The series is executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Portlandia begins production later this month and is shot entirely on location in Portland.