State of the slate

Comedy Central puts pilots on a laff track

Comedy Central has announced a diverse slate of pilots, animated skeins and scripts for next year.

New projects put the cabler in business with a variety of comics and reality producers including David Cross (“Arrested Development”), Nick DiPaolo and 3 Ball Prods. (“Breaking Bonaduce”).

Slate also includes previously announced pilot pickups for shows from Sarah Silverman (Daily Variety, May 13), Morgan Spurlock, Lewis Black, Adam Sandler and Parallel Entertainment.

After a flat summer — and no sign of Dave Chappelle making a return — Comedy Central exec VP of programming Lauren Corrao said the new batch of shows is far-reaching in content and genre. “We want to continue finding shows that are unlike anything else on TV. All of these are creator-centric with very irreverent and specific points of view.”

Bright spot was a renewal for “Mind of Mencia,” a half-hour that slowly built an audience over its 13-week run. Corrao has not, however, decided whether to bring back “Weekends on the D.L.” and “Too Late With Adam Carolla,” part of the cabler’s aggressive summer push to grab latenight auds.

“Latenight is a tough timeslot,” she said. “It takes time to build an audience there and ratings have been mixed.” That said, execs are hoping “The Colbert Report,” a send-up of news personality shows, fares better when it bows after “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” next week.

A renewal decision is also forthcoming for “Stella,” a scripted show from the absurdist trio behind “Wet, Hot American Summer.” Series averaged a “smaller audience, but one that was extremely passionate about the show,” according to Corrao. “I do think it’s the kind of comedy we should be doing.”

New pilot orders include the following:

  • “Not Another High School Show,” from the team behind “Not Another Teen Movie,” skein will spoof all teen TV dramas from “Dawson’s Creek” to “The OC.”  Sony Pictures Television produces. Mike Bender, Neal Moritz and Joel Gallen will exec produce.

  • “Wee on America,” starring “Jackass” alum Jason “Wee-Man” Acuna, about a series of “big vs. small” challenges that take place around the country. Producer is 3 Ball Prods.

  • “Culture Clash,” revolving around comic DiPaolo as he immerses himself in one of the cultures and/or stereotypes he has made fun of throughout his career.

  • “Half Way Home,” an improvised half-hour about a dysfunctional group — e.g., a pyromaniac and sex addict — living together in a halfway house. Damon Jones, Oscar Nunez and Kevin Ruf exec produce.

  • “Legends,” a series of specials, similar to 2003’s hourlong tribute to comedian Richard Pryor. First hour will be dedicated to Rodney Dangerfield. Sue Wolf produces.

  • “Case Closed,” a scripted parody of true-crime docs flooding cable. Brian Silbert and Sandy Silverman of Attention Deficit Prods. exec produce.

  • “Freak Show,” an animated show from David Cross and Jon Benjamin about a band of freak show performers who also happen to be second-rate superheroes who take the leftovers of the world-famous justice squad. Radical Axis produces.

  • “Ghost Foot,” written and created by Steve Kerper, sends up Japanese action cartoons. Kerper and Asterisk produce.

Comedy Central also has made script commitments to the following:

  • “My Secret Public Journal,” a scripted show centered based on the real-life experiences of standup comic/radio personality Mike Birbiglia. Rick Dorfman produces.

  • “Teacher’s Lounge,” from Matt Ballard, Chris Crockett and David Wain, about the sad lives of public junior high school teachers in suburban Kentucky. Principato Young Entertainment produces.

  • “Doc & Chains,” a zombie-com described as “Odd Couple” meets “Shaun of the Dead.” Show is from John Gemberling and Curtis Gwinn.

  • “Used,” a semi-scripted show based on John Landis’ IFC doc “Slasher,” about the world of used car sales. Landis, Ron Zimmerman and Mark Wolper will produce.
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