Thesp to star, exec produce skein with Crouther
Less than two months after Fox pulled the plug on “Wanda at Large,” comedian Wanda Sykes is partnering with Comedy Central for a series revolving around the her real-life attempts to tackle non-showbiz jobs.Sykes has signed on to star in and exec produce the as-yet-untitled show, with Lance Crouther, who co-created and co-exec produced “Wanda at Large,” also onboard to exec produce. Comedy Central has greenlit production on the project, ordering six episodes for a fall premiere. Series will be set up similarly to Larry David-led hybrid series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” featuring Sykes improvising with real-life folk as she takes on jobs ranging from the mundane (installing cable) to the dramatic (performing minor surgery). Sykes told Daily Variety the idea for a second show came to her while filming “At Large.” “I was always sitting around set, waiting for the lighting guy or craft services or something. And I’d always be thinking or yelling, ‘What is the problem? I can do that. Let me do it,’ ” Sykes said. She detailed plans to center one episode on her hosting a fight night in her home when the cable goes out, prompting her to take on repairman duties. “It’s actually one of those ideas that we’ve heard over and over. It only makes sense when you have the right talent attached to it, and we think Wanda is the perfect match,” said Comedy Central senior VP of original programming and development Lauren Corrao. “She’ll be as much a draw for the show as the concept.” Corrao said the cabler had been anxious to get back into business with the comedian, who last teamed with the channel for the one-hour standup spec “Wanda Sykes: Tongue Untied.” “We were hovering when we heard her show was gone. I think we waited a polite two or three days, and then I called her. There’s always been a standing invitation to come back,” Corrao said. Said Sykes: “Comedy Central feels like finally going home. It’s like the mate that you know you’re supposed to be with. You can go away and cheat on them and get used and abused, and you come back and they’ll take care of you.” Casting for series regulars is under way. In “At Large,” Sykes starred as a standup comic who lands a job as an opinionated commentator on a Washington, D.C., TV news program. She’s appeared in several episodes of “Curb,” and also has partnered with Comedy Central on “Crank Yankers,” “Comedy Central Presents” and “Premium Blend,” Her feature credits include “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and “Pootie Tang.” Crouther has written for shows including “The Chris Rock Show,” “On the Record With Bob Costas” and the feature “Down to Earth.” Emmy-winning pair won writing kudos in 1999 for their work on HBO’s “The Chris Rock Show.” Sykes is repped by WMA, and Crouther by Endeavor. The pair is also repped by attorney Roger Pliakas.