Fox loves the Ladies

Net planning variety skein around rockers

Pinch me: Canadian rockers Barenaked Ladies could be getting their own Fox skein.

Net has ordered a pilot presentation for a comedy-heavy variety skein starring Barenaked boys Steven Page, Kevin Heam, Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Ed Robertson. Group is known for hits such as “Pinch Me” and “One Week.”

Project comes from 20th Century Fox Television. Non-writing exec producers are Ann Maney, John Ziffren, Pierre Tremblay, Kara Welker and Dave Rath; a search is on for a head writer.

Hybrid scripted/unscripted skein will use as its base the comedy sketches the band performs during its concerts.

Musical perfs from the group and other guest stars will also be part of the mix.

Barenaked Ladies fans Maney and Welker bumped into each other at a concert earlier this year. That chance encounter led the two to collaborate on the skein now in development at Fox.

“When I was (an exec) at 20th, we used them a lot. They did ‘Two Guys and a Girl,’ ‘90210’ and something for ‘King of the Hill,’ ” said Maney, a former talent and casting VP at the studio. “They were always in our world.”

Welker said the skein would be “a classic variety show but with a modern spin. It’ll be true to their personalities.”

Variety skeins are starting to make a slow comeback on the small screen after years of dormancy.

ABC scored boffo numbers with its Nick Lachey/Jessica Simpson hour earlier this year, while the WB’s “Blue Collar TV” has variety show elements. Fox’s “American Idol,” while a reality competish at heart, also has elements of classic variety skeins (i.e., cheesy production numbers and wacky guest stars).

“The timing is perfect for this kind of show and for the guys,” Welker said.

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