CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Seven new series - three animated, four live action - are set to unspool on Comedy Central in 2004, the network announced today.
Among the newest pick-ups were (descriptions taken from the network's press release):
CROSSBALLS - Shot in front of a studio audience, "Crossballs" is a smart, comedic spoof of topical debate shows. Comedian Chris Tallman has been cast as host. Matt Besser ("Upright Citizens Brigade") and Charlie Siskel ("The Awful Truth") are executive producers.
ODD TODD (eight episodes) - "Odd Todd" is an animated series about the plight of a modern day, unemployed character named Todd and his struggle to make ends meet. Based on the real life adventures of creator Todd Rosenberg, "Odd Todd" is a laid off New Yorker who can't seem to get motivated enough to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. Rosenberg launched his own website three years ago (www.oddtodd.com) and has since received an astounding seven million hits. He's also the author of "The Odd Todd Handbook: Hard Times, Soft Couch," a best selling book on Amazon.com. David Stern ("Monk," "The Simpsons") will serve alongside Rosenberg as executive producer.
UNTITLED HOLLOW MEN PROJECT - Reminiscent of the legendary group Monty Python, The Hollow Men bring their unique comedic voice to America exclusively on Comedy Central. The troupe received critical acclaim for their live sketch show at Edinburgh Festival in 2001 and 2002; and they were the recipients of the prestigious Jury Award at the 2003 US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, CO. They were also chosen by Variety as one of the top 10 Comic Acts to Watch in 2003. The Hollow Men consists of members and creators Rupert Russell, Sam Spedding, Nicholas Tanner and David Armand.
The three new projects join the cable channel's four previously announced series (descriptions also culled from various press releases):
DRAWN TOGETHER (eight episodes) - This is the true story of eight characters, picked to live in a house to find out what happens when people stop being real and start getting animated. Presented as if it were a real Primetime reality series, "Drawn Together" answers the question of what happens when eight completely different cartoon characters from various genres and styles live together and have their lives filmed for the entire world to see. "Drawn Together," created and written by Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser, has received an order for eight episodes and is scheduled to premiere on Comedy Central in October 2004. The eight episode scripted series is an original, fictional narrative unlike anything audiences have seen before. "Drawn Together" captures the comedic and outrageous daily adventures of eight mismatched cartoon characters using the dramatic storytelling conventions of established reality television shows. The housemates include: "Captain Hero," a not so moral do-gooder reminiscent of the Saturday morning TV super heroes of the 70's; "Clara," a 20 year old sweet and naive fairy-tale princess; "Toot," a black and white pudgy heart throb from the 20's; "Foxxy Love," a sexy mystery solving musician; "Spanky Ham," a foul-mouthed internet download pig; "Ling-Ling," an adorable Asian trading card cubby creature; "Wooldoor-Sockbat," a wacky Saturday morning whatchamacallit; and "Xandir," a strong young adventurer, similar to the great video game warriors. Credits for "Drawn Together" include Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser as creators, writers and executive producers. The series is based on characters developed by Silverstein, Jeser and Jordan Young ("The Simpsons"). Zoe Friedman is the executive in charge of production for Comedy Central.
SHORTIES (13 episodes) - Comedy Central has also tapped comics Patrice Oneal and Nick DiPaolo to provide the voices on the animated series, "Shorties" (formerly titled "House Arrest"). Oneal and DiPaolo, regular contributors to the Comedy Central series "Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn," play two over-sophisticated, under-supervised infants whose primary babysitter becomes the television. Through their eyes, viewers see different animated comedy bits from existing A-list stand-up routines. Denis Leary and Jim Serpico of Apostle will serve as executive producers, with Tom Sellitti and Eric Brown serving as co-executive producers.
UNTITLED GRAHAM NORTON PROJECT (13 episodes) - Graham Norton is coming to America and his destination is Comedy Central. The British TV sensation, star of Channel Four's hit series, "So Graham Norton," will be very busy at the all-comedy network for the next two years with an American version of the award-winning variety/talk show (premiering in June), his own stand-up special and hosting duties of Comedy Central's "Reel Comedy." Describing the new series, Norton says "It's going to be like a great big American pie, hot and tasty and I know what you Americans like to do to pie." The untitled variety/talk series, the first hour-long series in Comedy Central's history, will be reminiscent of the outrageous Norton's previous British efforts, combining celebrity and audience interviews with pre-taped segments. The weekly series will produce episodes the same week they premiere and has received a 13-episode commitment for the first season. In addition, Norton will star in his own hour-long stand-up special (air date TBD) and will host four installments of Comedy Central's "Reel Comedy," which takes a behind-the-scenes, unique, in-depth look at the hottest new comedic films. Raised in the Republic of Ireland, the 39 year-old Graham Norton is currently one of the most popular entertainers on British television. The critically-acclaimed Norton has won numerous British Academy (BAFTA) awards, including this year's BAFTA for Entertainment Performer, and an International Emmy for Best Popular Arts Program in 2001. His big break in the world of comedy came in 1997 when he was nominated for the prestigious Perrier comedy award at the world-famous Edinburgh Festival, which led to multiple TV offers and, ultimately, to the creation of the hugely successful "So Graham Norton" on Britain's Channel Four. Currently on a stand-up tour in the United States, Norton's international popularity has already led to specials in Japan ("Ah So Graham Norton") and Mexico ("Si Graham Norton"). Norton's production company, So TV, will produce the variety/talk show with Norton and Graham Stuart serving as the executive producers.
UNTITLED WANDA SYKES PROJECT (six episodes) - Comedienne powerhouse Wanda Sykes comes to Comedy Central in a six-episode commitment deal for a yet-to-be-titled weekly series that will focus on her real-life attempts to do everyday jobs outside show business. The show finds Wanda performing real jobs with an "I can do that" attitude. The way into each job might be based on a problem that she encounters in her real life. Weekly episodes may find Wanda installing cable television or even performing minor surgery. Sykes will star and executive produce the series, with Lance Crouther also serving as executive producer. Sykes' and Crouther's newly-formed production company, Brick To The Head Productions, will produce the series in association with Comedy Central's Central Productions, LLC.
Exact premiere dates and time slots will be announced in the near future.