IFC announces “Maron,” “Portlandia” specials and more in its first-ever Upfronts

IFC made its first-ever Upfronts presentation to TV advertisers last night in New York City, and confirmed that it had ordered a 10-episode season for comedian Marc Maron based on the independent pilot he had debuted at the 2011 New York Television Festival.

This marks the second new series IFC has picked up from that festival — Kurt Braunohler’s anti-game show, Bunk, which bows in June being the first.

The cable channel announced official start dates for both Bunk and Comedy Bang! Bang!, an adaptation of Scott Aukerman’s popular podcast into a talk show, as well as the guest list for Aukerman’s first season, including: Elizabeth Banks, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Will Arnett, David Cross, Tenacious D, Will Forte, Topher Grace, Colin Hanks, Jon Heder, Nick Kroll, Thomas Lennon, Bob Odenkirk, Patton Oswalt, Chris Parnell, Andy Richter, Paul F. Tompkins and more. The show premieres at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on June 8. Earlier this month, IFC released a sneak-peek at Comedy Bang! Bang! for viewers to watch online.

It’ll be followed by the premiere of Bunk. You can see a trailer for Kurt Braunohler’s anti-game show, where his comedian friends answer silly questions for even sillier and questionable “prizes.” Roll the clip!

And see how it looks compared to when it was an independent pilot called Pointless in 2010.

Other IFC news:

In addition to renewing Portlandia for a third season to come in January 2013, the channel will broadcast a special one-hour director’s cut version of the second-season finale, Portlandia: The Brunch Special, plus a half-hour special timed to the winter holidays.

There also will be one-hour sequel to R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet, a six-episode second season of Whisker Wars, an animated series in January 2013 called Out There, from longtime South Park animation director Ryan Quincy, and the Maron (working title) project due to air in the third quarter of 2013.

The Maron series is based on his own life, giving viewers a fictionalized look at his WTF podcast and what happens when he’s not on the microphone. The pilot, produced by Denis Leary’s Apostle, directed by Oscar-winner Luke Matheny, and written by Duncan Birmingham, screened last fall at the New York Television Festival and featured Ken Jeong as the WTF guest, and Ed Asner as Maron’s father.

Maron told his followers today on Twitter: “Thanks for all the support and congrats on my @IFCtv deal. Couldn’t be more excited. Looking forward to creating.”

UPDATED: Just got off the phone with Maron. A little bit of what he had to tell The Comic’s Comic about earning his own TV series, which is still in its infancy because he sealed the deal with IFC only within the past couple of days. Which, in turn, is why he doesn’t think he could have made the programming schedule any earlier than he will.

“We haven’t even convened a production meeting of any kind,” Maron told me. “This all happened in days.”

Still, he is “excited to do something I haven’t been able to do” after decades in comedy and seeing several deals come and go. “I never really got discouraged. I’ve been in this business long enough to not hang my hopes on anything,” he said. “I haven’t been able to make television with my vision. And now it’s happened to me. I wasn’t sure if it ever would. I had kind of let it go.”

As for the tone of what Maron (working title) will become between now and late 2013, even Maron isn’t sure. But he did know that IFC wasn’t concerned about the content of the independent pilot they saw when it was called WTF. “They love the show. That was a presentation. That got us the deal. That only exists as a pilot presentation,” he said. “It was never meant to air. So there was no issue with anything (in it). It was just meant to give a sense of what the show could be.”

So what about Ed Asner playing your dad, then? “If he’s willing to do it and give it his all, that would be awesome.”

Congrats, Marc!

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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