At the TCA tour this summer, FX's TV programmers spoke highly of two of its comedy pilots but did not announce their additions to the schedule. They rectified that last night, officially ordering 13 episodes of Louis CK's Louie, plus six episodes of The League.
Louis CK said on his site that he was "very, very excited" to get going on the 12 eps to follow the pilot. "This show is insanely fun. I'm starring in it, writing, directing and editing it. The show will be shot in New York City, my home," he wrote overnight. It'll be a mix of stand-up and offstage, revolving around his own life as a stand-up comic and single dad with two daughters, with "extended vignettes" as Variety reports depicting scenes from his life. The one vignette that already has been described in the trades — about chaperoning a field trip — already has been a staple of his stand-up act this year. But as he pointed out when he filmed the pilot, "I do some standup on the show and some of it is in narrative film form and some of it gets weird. It's kind of hard to describe. It doesn't follow the pattern of any show I've seen. It's not like Seinfeld or Pulp Comics." We'll all get to see what it is in early 2010.
As for The League, it does have some links to Seinfeld, sort of. It's created by Jeff and Jackie Marcus Schaffer, who have ties to Curb Your Enthusiasm, which like The League, is going to be semi-scripted, and the rest improvised, revolving around a fantasy football league. The cast includes Mark Duplass, Steve Rannazzisi, Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, Jon Lajoie, Leslie Bibb, Katie Aselton and Nadine Velazquez. It'll arrive later this fall, not only to get on the air during football season, but also to pair up with FX's first successful sitcom, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Reading the trades (Variety, The Hollywood Reporter), however, it struck me as a little more than odd that no mention whatsoever was made of Norm MacDonald's show that he thought was sure to go on FX. The THR piece, in fact, said that FX had ordered series from all three of of its pilots. So where did that leave Norm? Did he get pranked, or was he pranking us?