Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Ricky Gervais‘ longtime writing partner and production collaborator Stephen Merchant insisted today at TCA that his new eight-episode HBO comedy series Hello Ladiesthat debuts on the network September 29 isn’t designed as his big move to step out of Gervais’ shadow and establish his own performing chops. “Not at all,” the shy, deadpan Merchant said. “It was actually HBO’s idea. They suggested a sitcom after seeing my standup act. And because Ricky has been in a relationship with his girlfriend Jane since he was like 20, and I have huge issues in my dating life, it just evolved as being my own.” Merchant stars, co-writes and directs the half-hour that casts him as a bumbling, gangly English web designer named Stuart who is transplanted to Los Angeles. It’s all about his hapless attempts to blend in with the sophisticated L.A. social scene and striking out with the ladies. Read More »
HBO has released the first teaser for its eight-episode series Hello Ladies. The comedy, co-written, directed by and starring The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant, is co-written with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky. All three exec produce. Merchant plays a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Hello Ladies debuts on September 29. Below, Merchant and Nate Torrence exhibit their foot-in-mouth prowess while chatting up a pair of women in a bar:
One comedy is coming to an end as another is coming back. Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant‘s Life’s Too Short will formally wrap up its run on HBO with a special to air this summer. Following actor Warwick Davis’ attempts at fame, the mocumentary special will be broadcast on July 5, HBO announced today. The BBC/HBO comedy series starring Davis, Gervais and Merchant premiered Stateside on February 2012 and ran for seven episodes. The special was first announced in January of this year. The special was created by Gervais, Merchant & Davis with the first two as executive producers, along with Mark Freeland and Charlie Hanson as producer. The special was written and directed by Gervais & Merchant.
FX’s Wilfred is coming back for its third season in June, the cable network said today. With two back-to-back episodes the show will debut its third cycle on June 20 at 10 PM. Starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gann, Wilfred will also air two episodes on June 27 too. Starting on July 11, the show will return to weekly single episodes. Based on the Australian series of the same title about a man and his relationship with his neighbor’s walking talking dog (at least to him), Wilfred and was originally adapted for FX by David Zuckerman. Along with Reed Agnew, Eli Jorné, Jason Gann, Rich Frank and Jeff Kwatinetz of Prospect Park, Randall Einhorn, and Joe Connor and Ken Connor of … Read More »
Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant‘s latest series, HBO/BBC comedy Life’s Too Short, will come back to HBO for a special, which will wrap the story. Gervais had been talking about doing a Life Is Too Short special since the summer when it became clear that there will be no second season of the mocumentary created by and starring Warwick Davis, Gervais and Merchant, which premiered on HBO last February and ran for seven episodes. Now HBO has committed to the special, which will air later this year. Merchant is already working on a new comedy series for HBO, Hello Ladies.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has given an eight-episode series order to Hello Ladies, its comedy pilot co-written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant. The project, which The Office co-creator co-wrote with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, stars the 6 foot-7 Merchant as a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. Merchant, who also explored the theme in his Hello Ladies standup show last year, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky executive produce the series, which HBO is producing in association with ABC Studios. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are under an overall deal at ABC Studios, which blessed their involvement in the project, including its sale to HBO. The Hello Ladies pilot co-starred Christine Woods, Nate Torrence and Kevin Weisman. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:HBO has picked up to pilot Hello Ladies, a comedy co-written, directed by and starring Stephen Merchant. The project, which The Office co-creator co-wrote with former Office writer-producers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, stars the 6ft 7in Merchant as a gawky Englishman searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate — he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in. Merchant, who also explored the theme in his Hello Ladies standup show last year, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are executive producing the pilot, which is slated to shoot before the end of the year. HBO is producing in association with ABC Studios where Eisenberg and Stupnitsky are under an overall deal. On the feature side, Eisenberg and Stupnitsky, repped by WME and Mosaic, co-wrote box-office hit Bad Teacher. Writer/actor/standup comedian Merchant is best known for his collaborations with Ricky Gervais. The duo co-created The Office, Extras and Life’s Too Short, the last two co-produced and airing in the U.S. on HBO. Additionally, WME-repped Merchant co-starred opposite Gervais on Extras. In addition to Hello Ladies, HBO has Charles Randolph’s Cold War spy drama pilot.
Johnny Depp has struck back against Ricky Gervais for the host’s digs at The Touristmade during last year’s Golden Globes broadcast. And he’s gotten help from Ricky Gervais to do it. Depp found time to guest on an episode of Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s new BBC series Life’s Too Short, where he gets a chance to confront Gervais when they sit down for a face-to-face. And he lets him have it in his Depp-ian way: It starts with Depp’s choice of ashtray and gets better from there. The series, which stars Warwick Davis as a conceited and egomaniac agent who runs a talent shop for fellow showbiz dwarfs, airs on HBO next year. Here’s the clip:
After months of speculation, HBO today officially confirmed that it will carry Life’s Too Short, the new comedy series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, creators of The Office, Extras and The Ricky Gervais Show. The seven-episode series, which will debut on BBC Two later this year, will air on HBO in 2012. Like The Office and Extras, Life’s Too Short is a faux documentary. It stars 3 ft. 6 in. actor Warwick Davis as a fictionalized version of himself: a down-and-out little person desperately trying to hustle and connive his way back into the spotlight. Each episode will feature cameos by stars, including Johnny Depp, Sting and Steve Carell, along with Gervais and Merchant playing themselves in minor roles. Other cast regulars include Jo Enright as Davis’ wife Sue and Rosamund Hanson as his assistant Cheryl. Here is the first teaser released by BBC Two:
HBO has renewed the animated comedy series The Ricky Gervais Show for a third season. The voices on the show are recorded by Ricky Gervais; his longtime collaborator, Stephen Merchant; and Gervais’ colleague and friend, Karl Pilkington, whose offbeat musings inspire many of the storylines. The second-season finale of Ricky Gervais, which airs Fridays at 9 PM, will air on April 15. On March 19, the podcast on which the series is based passed the 300 million-downloads mark. The Ricky Gervais Show is produced by MRC in association with Wildbrain Entertainment. Gervais, Merchant, Pilkington, Glyn Hughes, Bob Higgins, Lisa Ullmann and Steve Patrick are executive producing.
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA Coverage:
Ricky Gervais is Now a Man of Science
Nobody has more fun than Ricky Gervais, as he proved Thursday afternoon during a TCA panel that originated live via satellite from overseas. Gervais was joined by his writer-producer partner Stephen Merchant and their best friend, Karl Pilkington, to promote their new Science Channel series An Idiot Abroad that centers on a satiric travelogue involving Pilkington’s “forced trip around the globe” visiting the Seven Wonders of the World at Gervais’ and Merchant’s behest.
The 20-minute session, conducted with the three men on big screen, outfitted with earpieces and fortified by glasses of beer positioned in front of them, was mostly an opportunity for Gervais to guffaw heartily, further humiliate Pilkington and attempt to explain how this piece of comedy could wind up on something called the Science Channel. The loose justification: it’s a social experiment to see how much humiliation one man can tolerate without losing his mind.
At least 25% of the session was taken up by Gervais’ laughing so deeply and heartily that he often couldn’t catch his breath — all of it at the hapless Pilkington’s expense. When Pilkington was asked if he ever got sick of being referred to as a moron, he replied with a tepid, “Yeah.” He added, “I don’t think of myself as a moron. I hope that people watching this show will see themselves in me. It’s a little bit like when you get a dog.”