FX has ordered “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” the third comedy pilot in contention for the net’s planned comedy block slated to launch next year.
Cabler greenlit the project from tyro scribe Rob McElhenney, an actor whose most recent work was a role in an episode of “ER” last season. McElhenney will direct the pilot and is exec producing with his 3 Arts reps Nick Frenkel and Michael Rotenberg.
Show stars McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day and Jordan Berkow as a diverse group of friends who own a bar. Howerton and Day are also exec producing.
“I wanted the characters to be in a profession that gives them the space and time to get into themselves,” McElhenney said.
The 27-year-old thesp said he’d “basically hit the lowest point in my life as an actor. I was constantly complaining and on the verge of giving up.”
McElhenney decided to write something he’d like to act in. The result: a comedy in which one of the four friends reveals he has cancer in the first episode.
“It’s all about how we react to the news that one of our friends doesn’t have much time left,” he said. “It’s about finding comedy in things that you wouldn’t ordinarily think would be funny.”
McElhenney shot two episodes with friends on his own dime but will reshoot a formal pilot combining the two for FX.
Entertainment prexy John Landgraf said, “The pilot has a very distinct point of view” — an imperative at the network.
Production is set to begin in late October.
Elsewhere, FX has ordered backup scripts for the comedy pilots “Starved” and “Human Animals.”