FX is banking on Billy Crystal to bring the funny.
The cable network has ordered to pilot the half-hour comedy series, The Comedians, starring Crystal as a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. Production on the single camera comedy, produced by Fox Television Studios and based on a Swedish format of the same name, is scheduled for this summer.
Comedians hails from showrunners Larry Charles (Seinfeld), Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and Ben Wexler (Community, Arrested Development), who will serve as writers and executive producers of the project, along with Crystal. Joining them are Stockholm-based Efti AB's Carl Molinder and John Nordling, both EPs, as well as Fabrik Entertainment's Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin with Kristen Campo as a co-executive producer. Charles is set to direct the pilot.
“It truly is an honor to be in business with Billy Crystal and Larry Charles, two of the all-time greats in comedy,” said FX Networks president John Landgraf in a statement announcing the news Wednesday. “We have also wanted for some time to be in business with Matt Nix, who has done such an amazing job creating and running Burn Notice. They, along with Ben Wexler, are an unbeatable team and we’re incredibly excited about this project.”
Added Fox Television Studios President David Madden: "To collaborate with such comedy royalty as Billy Crystal and Larry Charles, and writers and creators of Matt Nix and Ben Wexler's caliber, is more fun than you're supposed to have at work. We are truly honored. And we also remain gratified to be in business with Fabrik - Mikkel, Henrik and Kristen somehow continue to unearth incredibly special formats that seem to translate and resonate for U.S. audiences."
The move comes as FX is looking to bulk up on its comedy offerings ahead of the fall launch of FXX, a cable network largely devoted to younger-skewing comedy. In announcing news of the latter in late March, FX brass noted that the networks will ramp up FX's development and pilot-production slate, more than doubling its current offerings to feature 25 scripted original series across the three nets -- FX, FXX and film-focused FXM -- during the next three years.
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