EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Lennon has joined the cast of Paramount’s Monster Trucks, the live-action/animation hybrid also starring Danny Glover, Jane Levy, Amy Ryan, Lucas Till, and Holt McCallany. Chris Wedge (Ice Age) is directing Paramount Animation‘s would-be franchise starter, which Mary Parent is producing. Plot details on the original script by Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger and Derek Connolly are under wraps, but Lennon’s is a “significant” role. Filming begins this month ahead of a May 29, 2015, debut. Actor, writer, producer, and director Lennon currently exec produces Comedy Central’s social media-fueled @midnight with partner Robert Ben Garant, with whom he co-created the network’s cop satire Reno 911! and MTV’s The State. The pair also scripted comedy features The Pacifier, Let’s Go To Prison, and the Night at the Museum pics starring Ben Stiller, and wrote and directed the 2013 comedy Hell Baby.
Meet television’s new Odd Couple. Reno 911! co-creator/star Thomas Lennon is set to play Felix opposite Matthew Perry‘s Oscar in CBS’s multi-camera comedy pilot The Odd Couple, a take on the Neil Simon classic. Co-written and executive produced by Perry, Odd Couple centers on two mismatched roommates — the messy Oscar Madison (Perry) and neat freak Felix Unger (Lennon). The Felix role was played by Art Carney in the original Broadway production of Neil Simon’s play, by Jack Lemmon in the 1968 movie and by Tony Randall in the 1970 ABC/Paramount TV series. The Odd Couple reunites Perry and Lennon, who co-starred together in the feature 17 Again. Before that, Lennon had a recurring role on NBC’s Friends, which starred Perry. Written by Perry and Frasier veteran Joe Keenan, The Odd Couple pilot hails from CBS TV Studios and studio-based Timberman-Beverly and The Tannenbaum Co.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
Reno 911 vets Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon are back with Hell Baby, a horror comedy about expectant parents (Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb) who move into a haunted fixer-upper. Garant and Lennon wrote, directed, produced, and star in the pic, which premiered at Sundance and co-stars Keegan Michael Key, Riki Lindhome, Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer and Michael Ian Black. Millennium will release Hell Baby on Ultra VOD July 25 and in theaters September 6. Here’s the first trailer:
Comedy Central To Launch Late-Night Show Hosted By Chris Hardwick, Funny Or Die Produces, Tom Lennon & Ben Garant To Run
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy Central is expanding its late-night block with a new show hosted by comedian/producer Chris Hardwick and co-produced by Funny Or Die. The untitled show, which will launch in the fall, will air four nights a week at midnight, following The Colbert Report, giving the network a 11 PM-12:30 AM block anchored by The Daily Show. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant will serve as executive producers/showrunners on the Chris Hardwick show, returning to Comedy Central, where they co-created and starred on the cult series Reno 911! The show, Comedy Central’s first midnight strip, will be formatted as a comedic panel show that will have a heavy social-media presence integrated throughout. It is produced by Comedy Central and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Funny Or Die, with Brillstein Entertainment Partners expected to executive produce along with Serious Business (Alex Blagg, Jason Nadler, Jon Zimelis) and Nerdist Industries, Hardwick and Peter Levin’s production company for multi-platform genre and pop culture content. In addition to the 11:30 PM broadcast late-night talk shows, Comedy Central’s Chris Hardwick program will face another new midnight cable strip — TBS’ series toplined by comedian Pete Holmes, which also is slated to launch in the fall and air four nights a week.
The Chris Hardwick show expands Hardwick’s relationship with Comedy Central, where …
Reno 911! co-creator/star Thomas Lennon is returning to primetime. Lennon is set to co-star opposite Sean Hayes in NBC’s untitled Sean Hayes/Victor Fresco multi-camera comedy pilot. Written by Fresco and directed by James Burrows, the comedy, from Universal TV and Hazy Mills, centers on Sean (Hayes), who must figure out how to parent his 14-year-old daughter, who just moved in, while navigating a temperamental new boss at work. Lennon will play the new boss, Max, who is blunt, gruff and seemingly fine with not being liked.
Darko Entertainment and Principato-Young will produce Hell Baby, a comedy scripted by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant that will mark the co-directing debut of the Night At The Museum writers. Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb will star as an expectant couple that moves in to the most haunted fixer-upper in New Orleans. They call upon The Vatican’s elite exorcism team to save them from a demonic baby. Lennon and Garant will play the Vatican squad.
Sean McKittrick, Jeff Culotta and Ted Hamm will produce with Peter Principato and Paul Young. CAA will sell the film. Lennon and Garant are represented by CAA and Principato-Young, Corddry by WME and Principato-Young, and Bibb by ICM and manager John Carrabino.
EXCLUSIVE: Night At The Museum co-writer Robert Ben Garant has just been set by Disney to write Tux, an adaptation of the Japanese graphic novel Tuxedo Gin. The film will be produced by Principato-Young’s Paul Young and Peter Principato, VIZ Media’s Jason Hoffs, and Shogakukan’s Ichiro Takase. The rights to the Tokihiko Matsuura-created Japanese property, which were controlled by Shogakukan in Japan and VIZ Media in the US, took almost two years to close. The talks actually started before Rich Ross and Sean Bailey took over the studio.
Ross and Bailey have been veering away from talking animal films but made an exception here. The graphic novel has that element, but there is also a gritty storyline. The protagonist is a young street fighter who falls into a coma and learns that he has lived his life so selfishly that he only has enough karma points to be reincarnated as an animal 15 pounds or less. Trapped in the body of a chin-strap penguin, he tries to overcome the humiliation and rack up enough good deeds to get his old body back and save the girl he loves.
EXCLUSIVE: NALA Films has set Paul Blart: Mall Cop helmer Steve Carr to direct and Rob Riggle and Thomas Lennon to star in The Boondoggle, the comedy that the producer/financier bought in January as a spec. Riggle and Lennon play two guys who attend a boondoggle business trip. Despite the island-paradise setting, everything possible goes awry. Christopher Halvorson wrote the original draft. The film will shoot in late summer with NALA Films funding it.
NALA’s Emilio Diez Barroso and Darlene Caamano Loquet are producing with Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Barrett Stuart. Shooting will get underway in the summer. Carr’s Rumpus Entertainment partner Jason Taragan will be exec producer. Riggle will next be seen in the Tom Hanks-directed Larry Crowne and is shooting 21 Jump Street, while Lennon will next be seen in Bad Teacher. Lennon, who rewrote this script with Riggle, usually writes with Ben Garant, who hatched Night at the Museum and Reno 911!
NALA Films just financed and produced House of My Father, the Spanish-language comedy that stars Will Ferrell, and the Max Winkler-directed Ceremony.
In what will be the first new production for the reconstituted MGM, the studio has set Vin Diesel to star in and produce The Machine. The action-comedy is being produced by Diesel’s One Race Films along with Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. They wrote the script. MGM will next set a director and start production in the fall.
Diesel will play a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon to be the world’s first ultimate weapon. Some 20 years after the machine was decommissioned and buried, The Machine is discovered, reactivated and befriended by a kid. When the government learns that The Machine is back in operation, the ultimate weapon’s mission becomes to protect the family that is harboring him. Lennon and Garant’s scripts include the Night at the Museum franchise and The Pacifier, the latter of which starred Diesel and was made by Spyglass. Since Spyglass’s Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber and Jonathan Glickman are calling the shots at MGM, it is a re-team across the board. I’m told the tone of the movie is somewhat similar to Iron Giant, the animated film with a protagonist that was voiced by Diesel. The hope is to create a franchise.
UPDATED: At the opening of FX’s executive session, president John Landgraf announced a 13-episode second season pickup of Louis C.K.’s new comedy series Louie five weeks into the show’s freshman run. Additionally, FX has greenlighted Alabama, a comedy pilot co-created and starring Reno 911! masterminds Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. The pilot is set a thousand years in the future, aboard the United Nations peacekeeping spaceship: The USS Alabama. It follows the crew, who are in the sixth year of the their seven-year mission to maintain peace and enforce treaties between planets in their jurisdiction. Garant and Lennon are executive producing the FX Prods.-produced pilot with Peter Principato and Paul Young. It reunited Garant and Lennon with Landgraf who served as an exec producer on Reno.
During the Q&A portion, Ladgraf also “broke” news related to sibling broadcast network Fox. Mixing together the two subjects that had been taboo at the ABC (Steve McPherson’s resignation) and Fox (judge changes on American Idol) TCA presentations over the past two days, Landgraf said: “(Fox entertainment chairman) Peter Rice told me I could deny that Steve McPherson is becoming a judge of American Idol.”
Landgraf was asked to define the difference between a broadcast and cable drama series. ”There are 13 episodes a season for a cable series, 22 for a broadcast series. I’m not sure if there is any other distinction,” he said. But don’t expect FX to gradually morph into a network with a broadcast-size slate of original series. While FX has been rapidly expanding its series …