Network greenlights 'The Root of All Evil'

Comedy Central is fading to Black.

The laffer net has ordered a pop-culture comedy skein from the veteran comic Lewis Black. Net has greenlit to series “The Root of All Evil,” picking up a pilot it had produced six months ago (Daily Variety, April 12).

“Root” pits two people or topics against each other in a courtroom setting, with a rotating group of comedians arguing ironically for their client as the root of all evil. Among the potential topics are Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney and Michael Vick vs. Michael Richards.

Black will serve as the judge and emcee; he’ll level his trademark misanthropy at each pop-culture subject, and at the end of the show offer his ruling on which of the parties is, in fact, the root of all evil.

Show is set for a March debut. No episode order has been given.

None of the comedians has been announced, but they’re expected to be drawn from the stable of performers Comedy features in its specials and other programming. Patton Oswalt and Greg Giraldo are among the comedians featured in the pilot.

Black is a comedic hyphenate who has had character roles on the bigscreen, performed on Broadway and made recurring appearances in the “Back in Black” segments on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” where he spews his brand of pessimism on assorted topics.

Black will exec produce with “Real Time With Bill Maher” exec producer Scott Carter and “The Simpsons” scribe David Sacks; Jo Anne Astrow and Mark Lonow will co-exec produce.

Greenlight marks the second “Daily Show” vet to get a pickup in a week; on Tuesday, the net greenlit “Important Things With Demetri Martin,” based on the offbeat comedy of the “Daily Show” performer.

Comedy is thought to be mostly finished with the latest round of shows that are set for the first half of next year, though insiders said there could be one more pickup. Net will come back with animated political skein “Lil’ Bush” and the standup vehicle “Mind of Mencia.”

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