Comedy Central skeds new talent-heavy projects

Wrapping up its highest-rated year in history, Comedy Central has unveiled a talent-heavy development slate that includes projects from Norm Macdonald, Jamie Kennedy, Dave Attell and Michael Ian Black.

In addition to the previously ordered sketch show pilot from Macdonald (Daily Variety, Nov. 2), laffer net has inked a talent deal with Kennedy for a pilot that features the comedian going undercover to test people’s stereotypes. Kennedy will star and exec produce with Josh Etting.

Cabler additionally has greenlit an untitled concert show starring network fixture Attell and his buddies on tour, which the channel will sponsor. Order follows up the ratings success of “Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie,” which bowed to 2 million viewers last November.

Comedy Central has had a strong story to tell for the year — up 35% from 2003 in total viewers year-to-date – courtesy of powerhouse ratings for “Drawn Together,” the second season of “Chappelle’s Show” and returning hits “Reno 911!” “The Daily Show” and “South Park.” Numbers are particularly strong in the face of primetime misstep “The Graham Norton Effect” and “Crossballs.”

“Our homeruns have all had in common specific points of view that are both irreverent and surprising at the same time,” said senior VP of programming and head of development Lauren Corrao. “This slate exemplifies what we’re always looking for and in a wonderfully diverse group of projects.”

Pilots in the hopper include:

  • “Stella,” Comedy Central’s first foray into scripted series. Single-camera comedy is from the team behind “Wet Hot American Summer” — Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain — who exec produce, write and star. Based on the group’s three-man stage show, “Stella” revolves around three unemployed guys thrown into absurd situations.

  • “Take It to the Bitch House,” a “Judge Judy”-style trial show played out on the streets between people with problems too small for even small claims court. Comedienne Sommore (“Soul Plane”) plays judge and jury. Ben Silverman, Steven Greener and Patrick Byrnes will exec produce the project to be directed by Rusty Cundieff.

  • “Con,” a prank show featuring Skyler Stone (“Stuck on You”) pulling elaborate stunts in order, for example, to get free products from stores. Stone, Rick DeOlivera, Matt Sloan and Chris Cox exec produce.

  • “Happy Game Fun Bomb,” a studio-based reality series centered on a group of comic vidgamers playing real-life gamers from across the country. Patton Oswalt and Brian Posehn host. Rob Cohen (“The Jamie Kennedy Experiment”) exec produces.

Corrao said Comedy Central is at work on a handful of sports-related series — an area of programming net topper Doug Herzog has pushed for since his arrival — all of which are in the early stages of development.

Still awaiting word on series pickups are the entertainment news spoofs “Gone Hollywood,” from Hugh Fink, Gavin Polone and Vivian Cannon, and “The Hollywood Show,” from Brian Unger and Heidi Clements (Daily Variety, Sept. 7). A decision on a second season renewal for Wanda Sykes starrer, “Wanda Does It,” is also pending.

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