Hulu had given a straight-to-series order to a serialized comedy starring Steve Martin and Martin Short. The half-hour project, involving true crime and mystery, hails from This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman and 20th Century Fox TV where he is under an overall deal.
The comedy is based on an idea by Martin, who had been pursued by television networks for decades as an actor and as a writer-creator. Aside from co-creating the 1984 comedy series Domestic Life and his 15 hosting turns on Saturday Night Live, Martin has largely stayed away from television for the past five decades. This is his first TV series starring role.
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“When you’re lucky enough to have lunch with Steve Martin, and halfway through the meal he says ‘hey, I have an idea for a TV show’ – it’s a pretty good day,” Fogelman told Deadline. “This is as exciting as it gets.”
Co-created and written by Martin and Grace and Frankie executive producer John Hoffman, the untitled comedy is about three strangers who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. Longtime friends and frequent collaborators Martin and Short play two of the strangers, the third is a younger woman, I hear. Word of the project started getting out over the past few weeks, creating a frenzy, with a number of actresses reportedly reaching out for the co-lead role opposite the two comedy greats, as well as other actors asking about the supporting roles.
The series is set in New York, which is expected to be a big character in the show, and will film there.
This marks the first non-broadcast series for Fogelman and his first major sale under the massive new overall deal he signed with This Is Us producer 20th TV in May for his Rhode Island Ave Prods. It also marks Fogelman’s return to half-hour comedies. He created and executive produced half-hour comedy series Like Family for The WB and The Neighbors and Galavant for ABC before segueing to hourlong drama with NBC’s hugely popular This Is Us and the underrated Fox baseball series Pitch.
Martin and Hoffman executive the Hulu comedy series with will Fogelman, Rhode Island Ave’s Jess Rosenthal and Short. 20th TV, part of Disney TV Studios, is the studio.
This is 20th TV’s third series at Hulu after drama Chance, starring Hugh Laurie, and the upcoming animated comedy Solar Opposites. There has been an increased effort for collaboration between Hulu and Disney’s TV production units now that Hulu is fully controlled by Disney as program ownership becomes crucial to the bottom line.
Fellow Disney TV Studios division ABC Studios/ABC Signature is behind two high-profile upcoming Hulu series, the limited Little Fires Everywhere, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, and High Fidelity starring Zoe Kravitz.
Short, a two-time Emmy winner, most recently headlined with Maya Rudolph the Maya & Marty variety series for NBC and did an arc on Apple’s The Morning Show.
In 2018, he shared two Emmy nominations with Martin for their Netflix special, Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life. In features, the two starred together in ¡Three Amigos! and the Father Of the Bride franchise, among other collaborations.
Before joining Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, Hoffman served as co-executive producer on HBO’s Looking.
Martin and Hoffman are repped by attorney Michael Gendler; Fogelman is with Bruce Gellman.
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