Source: NY Times
If you liked Jon Heder in “Napoleon Dynamite,” get ready to see much more of him in a Comedy Central series planned for next year.
On Thursday Comedy Central announced that it would broadcast a new scripted half-hour series to star Mr. Heder. The show’s producers include Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, the team that has given audiences bloviating local news personalities (in “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”) and clueless race-car drivers (“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”).
The network said that it had ordered 10 episodes of the untitled series, and that it was committed to ordering as many as 90 more if the show meets certain ratings benchmarks when it has its debut in 2010.
“In all the meetings we’ve had, they keep staring at me, like, ‘O.K., you ready for this?’ ” Mr. Heder, 31, said. “I’m like, ‘Should I be?’ I haven’t thought this through.”
Since co-starring in the 2007 comedy “Blades of Glory” as competitive ice skaters who reluctantly team up, Mr. Heder and Mr. Ferrell have discussed various projects they might work on together. An opportunity presented itself when Gary Sanchez Productions, the production company Mr. Ferrell runs with Mr. McKay and Chris Henchy, was approached by the syndication company Debmar-Mercury to create a new television show.
Debmar-Mercury had sold two series created by the prolific filmmaker Tyler Perry, “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” and “Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns,” to TBS. In those deals the network committed to substantial episode orders based on the shows’ ratings success, and Debmar-Mercury said it believed Mr. Ferrell and Mr. McKay could make a similar arrangement at Comedy Central.
Based on the talent involved Comedy Central agreed to the deal without a produced pilot or a finished script. “You get a chance to work with these guys, you don’t say no,” Michele Ganeless, the network’s president, said.
Mr. McKay, whose collaborations with Mr. Ferrell have included the Broadway show “You’re Welcome America. A Final Night With George W Bush,” said he appreciated the sheer size of the deal. But more important, he said, was the chance to create the first 10 episodes without interference from the network.
“Boy, creatively, that just sounds really exciting,” Mr. McKay said. “You don’t have to do the test dials and the crazy over-noting that you get with a lot of these half-an-hours.”
Now everyone involved with the show just needs to figure out what it’s going to be.
In a news release Comedy Central said Mr. Heder would play “an out-of-work computer IT specialist who leaves the big city and returns to his small hometown, where he moves back in with his parents and younger brother.”
But Mr. Heder said that concept was still in flux. Most likely, he said, he would play a character who is “a know-it-all, or a thinks-he-knows-it-all,” and who takes it upon himself to be a third parent to a younger sibling.
“He’s never had a cellphone, but his brother has grown up on Facebook,” Mr. Heder explained. “He hears sidekick and he thinks, ‘Oh, literally, a tag-along.’ ‘No, no, it’s that mobile device.’ ” (Mr. Heder, whose 24-year-old brother is currently living with him, acknowledged that he might have taken this concept from real life.)
And if the show proves to be a hit on the scale that its creators are expecting, Mr. Heder said he could handle the demands of shooting 90 more episodes.
“I don’t have much of a social life anyway,” he said.