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[02/01/06 - 12:00 AM]
NBC Taps Into Expanded Talent Pool with New First-Look Deals with Upright Citizen's Brigade Comedy Troupe and Innovative Ars Nova Theater Showcase in New York

[via press release from NBC]

NBC TAPS INTO EXPANDED TALENT POOL WITH NEW FIRST-LOOK DEALS WITH UPRIGHT CITIZEN'S BRIGADE COMEDY TROUPE AND INNOVATIVE ARS NOVA THEATER SHOWCASE IN NEW YORK

BURBANK, Calif. -- February 1, 2006 -- NBC has forged two first-look talent deals with the Upright Citizen's Brigade comedy troupes in both New York and Los Angeles as well as made a new deal with the innovative Ars Nova Theater in Manhattan, it was announced today by Marc Hirschfeld, Executive Vice President of Casting, NBC Entertainment.

As a result, NBC renews and broadens its previous first-look arrangement with the Upright Citizen's Brigade for a second year to include its new Los Angeles company along with the established one in New York. Over 600 actors and writers currently train and perform at UCB, producing hundreds of shows each year.

"NBC is thrilled to continue our relationship with UCB founding partners Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh and tap into their tremendous talent pool with this promising new deal," said Hirschfeld. "UCB is the home for some of the most creative and innovative comedy happening in the United States today and Ars Nova partners Jenny Wiener and Jon Steingart have created a theater space producing some of the best and most talked about alternative comedy and experimental theater on the New York scene. There's a lot to be mined from these two separate and complementary creative entities, and we expect a lot of good things to come from this joint effort."

Hirschfeld will be coordinating with NBC's newly named Katie O'Connell, Senior Vice President, New York Development, NBC Entertainment, who heads the network's New York creative office, as well as with Renate Radford, Director, Comedy Development, NBC Universal Television Studio.

NBC's previous deal with the Upright Citizen's Brigade yielded a pilot for NBC Universal's Bravo cable network. The arrangement allows for development with any NBC Universal network or cable property.

"The Upright Citizen's Brigade" is a much-celebrated ensemble was featured in a 1998-2000 comedy sketch series on Comedy Central. Their uproarious, dangerous outlook attracted a cult-like following that continues with the troupe's live performances with companies in both New York and Los Angeles. One of its founding members, Amy Poehler, now stars as a series regular on NBC's "Saturday Night Live." NBC also has development deals with Rob Riggle and Rob Huebel who are regular performers at UCB.

The Ars Nova Theater, located on 511 West 54th Street in Manhattan, is one of New York's premier off-Broadway performance venues. It was built in the memory of Gabe Weiner to provide artists an intimate audience environment to shape and perform new interpretive works. The fare includes theater, comedy and music events for the primary purpose of making quality live entertainment available and affordable to audiences. Also included on stage are free "Out Loud" play readings, the "Automatic Vaudeville" comedy series and writers' workshops.





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