“The Simpsons” vets Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein have been named exec producers on Fox’s animated laffer “Sit Down, Shut Up.”
As part of the deal, Oakley and Weinstein have also secured a blind script commitment at Sony Pictures Television, which is behind the show.
Addition of Oakley and Weinstein to the toon’s team is a good sign that a series order is in the offing; Fox had planned to decide on the show’s fate after a table read, which took place earlier this month. Net, however, hasn’t confirmed a pickup.
Oakley and Weinstein will add plenty of animated comedy experience to “Sit Down, Shut Up,” which was initially set up by “Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz (who also wrote the first script) and his producing partners, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum.
“To run Mitch’s show, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Oakley said. “It all worked out — Mitch wants to be in more of a supervisory role, like Ron Howard on ‘Arrested.’ ”
“Sit Down, Shut Up” is based on a live-action sitcom from Australia. The animated U.S. version revolves around the lives of seven staff members at a dysfunctional high school in a small northeastern fishing town. Action centers on faculty members, as their egos and personal agendas trump the students’ needs.
“It’s extremely character based, like ‘Arrested Development,’ and has different rhythms than other animated shows like ‘The Simpsons’ or ‘King of the Hill,'” Oakley said. Voice talent includes several thesps from Hurwitz’s “Arrested Development”: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Henry Winkler. Show also features Cheri Oteri, Will Forte, Regina King, Tom Kenny, Nick Kroll and Maria Bamford.
Animator and children’s book author Mo Willems, who was behind Cartoon Network’s critically acclaimed “Sheep in the Big City,” is handling animation on the show.
Besides Sony, 20th Century Fox TV has been added as a co-producer on “Sit Down, Shut Up.” In addition, Granada USA is producing, along with Tantamount — the partnership between Hurwitz and the Tannenbaums.
Oakley and Weinstein had also been developing another project with Sony, Hurwitz and the Tannenbaums before the strike at Fox. That project, about dancers on a 1970s TV show in Los Angeles (tentative title: “Boogie Fever”), is now on the back burner but could be redeveloped.
Meanwhile, the scribes are also working, with Aaron Ehasz, on an animated project for Nickelodeon.
“Worst Class Ever” takes place at a middle school. Patton Oswald is providing the lead voice, while Oakley and Weinstein also serve as voice actors. Oakley also put on his cartoonist cap and drew the show’s characters.
Oakley and Weinstein worked on “The Simpsons” during what’s widely considered the show’s golden years, eventually working their way up to exec producers. Their credits also include the animated WB laffer “Mission Hill” and UPN’s quirky live-action comedy “The Mullets” (which they worked on with the Tannenbaums).
The duo also served as judges on the VH1 reality competish “In Search of the Partridge Family.”