FX slates new series

Goldthwait and Penn and Teller to have shows

Fox’s FX cabler is committing upwards of $10 million to bring out two new original series this summer: “Bobcat’s Big Ass Show” and a variety hour hosted by magi-comics Penn & Teller.

FX is looking to capitalize on the ratings and distribution growth it has enjoyed ever since the cabler added reruns of the hit Fox-produced dramas “NYPD Blue” and “The X-Files” to its primetime lineup last fall. FX is developing a host of other original series, with plans to bring out at least one more new show by the end of this year. The cabler also intends to branch out into the made-for-TV movie arena next year.

“We feel these new shows are on target with our focus on comedy and on the 18-49 audience with a skew toward men,” says Mark Sonnenberg, exec VP of FX Networks. “Our strong primetime lineup gives us a tremendous platform to rollout original programming and enhance the value of FX.”

FX has given the greenlight to production of 65 half-hour episodes of “Bobcat’s Big Ass Show” (Daily Variety, Feb. 3), hosted by comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, to run Monday-Friday at 10:30 p.m. beginning June 1. The show, from Stone Stanley Prods., is described as a gameshow where wild stunts performed by contestants are judged by Goldthwait and the audience.

FX has ordered 16 segs of the variety hour to be emceed by Penn Jillette and his silent partner Teller. “The Penn & Teller Show,” from Buccieri and Weiss Prods. and Pearson All American TV, will be based in Las Vegas. FX is targeting a summer premiere but no date has been set.

“Bobcat’s Big Ass Show” was packaged by Ray Solley of the William Morris Agency, while the Penn & Teller series was put together by Solley and WMA’s Mark Itkin.

Other projects in the development pipeline at FX include:

– A series showcasing the Los Angeles-based comedy troupe The Groundlings from In-Finn-ity Prods.

– “Fast Food Films,” from Gold Coast Prods. and Fox Television Studios, in which the plots of feature-length films are condensed to 3- to 6-minute bites.

– “Inside Jokes,” from Victoria Prods. and Fox TV Studios, focusing on up-and-coming standup comics.

– “Rude Awakening,” from the Gurin Company, in which the studio audience takes part in an offbeat popularity contest.

– “Filthy Liars,” from Mark Phillips Philms, Telephision and C3, a reality show pitting standup comics as they try to fool the audience with stories about eclectic props.

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