Comedy Central’s latest development slate is diverse in more ways than one.
Not only has the cable network put together several new series with performers of color at the center, but the three shows picked up Tuesday by Comedy Central are all very different.
Ordered to series are the stand-up/musical show “The New Negroes,” the comedy game show “Taskmaster” and the scripted comedy “Corporate.” In development are shows from creators including Awkwafina, Neal Brennan, Arturo Castro, Franchesca Ramsey, Noël Wells and Flint Wainess, among others.
“The network when I got here was pretty traditionally targeted toward young white guys, both in terms of who the audience was and who was creating the shows for the audience,” said Comedy Central president Kent Alterman. “We started changing that a few years ago by expanding that into having funny women on the network, with Amy Schumer and Broad City and a lot more since. We want to open up our aperture to reflect the multi-faceted audience that’s out there. A diversity also of formats and genres and premises within comedy.”
Alterman bristles at the idea, however, that Comedy Central is in need of replenishing its talent pool every few years. “It’s an easy narrative for people to say, oh, we just break talent and they move on. But Jon Stewart was on the air for 16+ years, Stephen Colbert was 20 years,” he said. “Very creator-driven and produced sketch series rarely last more than two years and we got five with ‘Key and Peele.’ And we still have a relationship with them.”
“The New Negroes,” from Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle, is a “socially aware stand-up and musical series showcasing a collection of new and established comedians.” Vaughn and Eagle will host and executive produce. Other EPs include Lance Bangs (who will direct the show), Betsy Koch. Funny or Die is behind the show.
Reggie Watts (“The Late Late Show with James Corden”) will host “Taskmaster,” a game show based on the U.K. format. Show creator Alex Horne will be Watts’ assistant, and the two “will judge five unwitting comedians as they compete against each other with creativity, cunning and genius in a series of stupefying tasks.” Executive produced by Watts, Horne, Richard Allen-Turner, Rob Aslett, David Martin, James Taylor, Jon Thoday, Kara Baker and Andy Devonshire, who will also direct. Avalon Television produces.
“Corporate” stars Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman as trainees for a junior executive program at a multi-national corporation run by a tyrannical CEO (Lance Reddick). Ingebretson and Weisman executive produce with Pat Bishop and Jake Fogelnest.
Here are the pilots in development at Comedy Central, with details provided by the network:
“Alternatino” – based on the Comedy Central digital series, a half-hour sketch show hosted and performed by Arturo Castro (“Broad City”) as he attempts to navigate life as a modern Latino millennial – whatever that means. Executive Produced by Castro and Avalon’s David Martin, Jon Thoday, Richard Allen-Turner and Sam Saifer.
“Delco Proper”– based on the Comedy Central digital series, centers on a group of buddies from Delaware County, Pa., who’ve worked together in the same lumberyard for years. In that time, they’ve learned one thing for sure: It’s hard to change in a town that doesn’t. Written by John McKeever and Tommy Pope, with McKeever set to direct. Executive Produced by McKeever, Pope, Eric Abrams, and Sam Saifer of Avalon.
“Home for the Weekend” – created, executive produced and hosted by comedian Neal Brennan, this mockumentary-style half-hour follows Neal and a celebrity guest as they take a weekend trip back to the guest’s hometown. In each episode, things veer off the rails and pleasant strolls down memory lane take unexpected turns that reveal surprising backstories and hidden details about high-profile stars. Executive produced by Brennan, Party Over Here’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, along with Lindsay Hannon.
“Power Couple” – created, written and executive produced by Noël Wells (who is attached to star) and Flint Wainess, Power Couple is the story of Flint and Noel, a neurotic 20-something couple in Austin, Texas navigating the existential horrors of the Internet age while constantly clashing with friends, neighbors, and the absurdity of the world around them.
Untitled Awkwafina Project – written by Nora Lum and Teresa Hsiao, executive produced by Itay Reiss of Principato-Young Entertainment and Lum and co-executive produced by Hsiao, this half-hour scripted narrative focuses on a heightened version of Nora Lum, better known as rapper Awkwafina, as she navigates the underground hip hop community in Queens.
Untitled Chris Kelly And Sarah Schneider Project – written by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, features two struggling siblings who are forced to reevaluate their lives when their much younger 12-year-old brother becomes instantly famous without trying. Chris Kelly (“Other People”) is set to direct. Executive produced by Kelly, Schneider, Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer of Broadway Video.
Untitled Franchesca Ramsey Project – led by Franchesca Ramsey, a diverse set of comedians break pressing cultural issues. Executive produced by Ramsey, Eric Brown and Andrew Kornhaber and Kara Welker of Generate.
Untitled Jak Knight Stand-Up Project – Jak Knight hosts an underground stand-up show featuring three comedians from different genres and a performance from an emerging musical artist. Produced by Den of Thieves, executive produced by Knight, Molly Mandel, Lisa Mierke, Jared Morell, Jordan Barrow, Evan Prager, and Jesse Ignjatovic and directed by Chris Storer.
Untitled South Side Project – Written by Bashir Salahuddin, Diallo Riddle and Sultan Salahuddin, this workplace comedy is set in and around a rent-to-own business on the South Side of Chicago (where the Salahuddins grew up). All three writers will have roles on the show. The show will be executive produced by Bashir Salahuddin and Riddle as well as executive produced and directed by Michael Blieden.