Determined to learn from past mistakes, Comedy Central has launched a new Comedy Central Productions unit to develop new and existing in-house talent.
As Jon Stewart departed The Daily Show, the cable network watched as many of his potential successors also fled, from John Oliver (HBO), Stephen Colbert (CBS), Samantha Bee and Jason Jones (TBS), Michelle Wolf (HBO, then Netflix), Hasan Minhaj (Netflix). Other stand-ups who rose up to become stars from Comedy Central Roasts also went elsewhere with their sitcoms.
But in recent months, Comedy Central has begun locking up current and rising stars with development deals. Among them:
- Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, fresh off finishing their hit series, Broad City, with three projects already in development under the new deal. Mall Town USA, an animated comedy about a 13-year-old girl written and created by Gabe Liedman. Platinum Status, set in the hipster-heavy east side of Los Angeles, professional back-up singer Noah (Eliot Glazer), a gay guy who’s always felt left out of the “community.” Young Professionals follows five housemates growing up – personally, politically, and professionally – in the hopelessly absurd world of Washington, D.C., written by and executive produced by former White House speechwriter David Litt.
- Roy Wood, Jr., the Daily Show correspondent, with a series pilot, Jefferson County: Probation, in production in his hometown of Birmingham, Ala., that would star Wood as a probation officer willing to bend the rules to help the clients he monitors much to the chagrin of his partner and everyone else in his life. Wood also has a third stand-up special on order, and just premiered his webseries superhero spoof, The Night Pigeon.
- Jim Jefferies, with a third-season renewal for his weekly late-night talker, The Jim Jefferies Show.
- Chris Distefano, with a deal giving him another hour stand-up special, plus development of an animated series, an unscripted series, and the continuation of Comedy Central’s Friday-night interstitial series Stupid Questions with Chris Distefano.
- Paulilu, the production company from Broad City writer/directors/producers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs. Aniello already serves as an executive producer on Comedy Central’s upcoming Awkwafina scripted series.
- Anthony King, Tony Award-nominated writer of hit musical Beetlejuice; writer and executive producer on franchises including Silicon Valley, Search Party, and Comedy Central’s upcoming Robbie.
- Irony Point, the New York based production company run by Daniel Powell, who oversees development, and Alex Bach, who oversees production. The company’s TV and streaming credits include the Emmy and Peabody-winningInside Amy Schumer (Comedy Central), I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix), The Break with Michelle Wolf (Netflix), and Ugly Americans (Comedy Central). They are in post on the upcoming feature film Scare Me, starring Aya Cash and Chris Redd.
- Stuart Miller, an executive producer on the upcoming series Klepper (Comedy Central). He served as co-executive producer on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central) and executive producer for The Opposition w/ Jordan Klepper (Comedy Central), Ferrell Takes the Field (HBO) and Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons (HBO).
“For years we’ve been successfully expanding the trustworthy Comedy Central brand beyond linear, extending to digital, social, podcasts, radio and live events. The next logical step is to establish Comedy Central Productions,” said Comedy Central President Kent Alterman. “By leaning into our development expertise and production capabilities, and by partnering with some of the smartest and funniest talent in comedy, this is another way we can thrive. And putting more great comedy in the world couldn’t hurt.”