New programming chief Alterman casting big net
New Comedy Central programming chief Kent Alterman is casting a wide net for his first batch of development.The eclectic slate includes scripted laffers, sketch comedies and animated fare, and features up-and-coming talent such as Nick Swardson, Patrice Oneal, Nick Kroll and Bill Burr, as well as vets like Denis Leary, Norm Macdonald and the Broken Lizard troupe. “It’s really about trying to find the strongest comedy voices, where ever they are and whoever is available,” said Alterman, who officially replaced Lauren Corrao in January as the head of original programming and production at Comedy Central. Pilots and presentations in the works include several scripted entries — starting with “Rich Dicks,” from Kroll (“The League”), Jon Daly and Jon Krisel, about two obnoxious guys partying with their nanny in Los Angeles. Project is based on a short from the Funny or Die website. Burr and Kevin Hart are behind another scripted series — billed as a modern-day “Odd Couple” — from exec producer Bruce McCulloch and 3 Arts. Also, the mockumentary project “Steel Panther,” which centers on the ’80s-style parody hair metal band of the same name, will be loosely scripted. Shane Nickerson, Brian Posehn and Jeff Tremaine created the show. And Comedy Central has greenlit five webisodes for “The Fuzz,” a police comedy set in a world where humans and puppets live together. A parody of TV’s gritty procedural dramas, “The Fuzz” will run on Comedy Central’s Atom.com — but is also in development as a regular series. Chris Ford, Duncan Skiles and Jon Watts created the show, while Dave Becky, Tom Lasally and Greg Walter will exec produce. Among other scripted projects in early stages of development: the comedy “A-Holes,” about two bigtime jerks; “Intercourse with Whitney Cummings,” centering on the comedian’s dating and sex life; “Mars,” an office comedy set in space; “Midnight Drop Box,” described as a “stoner-horror anthology”; and “Nocturnal Mission,” starring Chris D’Elia as an alien sent to Earth. Also in the works: an untitled series from Broken Lizard about minor-league umpires; and “Waiting,” based on the restaurant-set movie of the same name. Script projects come as Comedy Central preps the June launch of new “Futurama” episodes (starting June 24) and the new series “Big Lake,” From Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy. “There’s definitely an opportunity to do more scripted development and shows,” said Alterman, who developed one of Comedy Central’s original scripted skeins, “Strangers with Candy,” during his first stint at the cabler. “It’s one of my goals, to get more stuff going in that vein.” Channel also has several new sketch franchises in the works, including “This Show Will Get You High,” from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Matt Besser and Eric Zicklin are writing and producing. And the channel calls its untitled pilot from Andre Hyland and animator Mike Mayfield (and exec produced by Bob Odenkirk) an “irreverent stoner sketch show.” Among other pilots, “Highdeas,” which investigates the kind of strange questions posed by stoners, is based on a popular website. Embassy Row produces. Funny or Die is also behind “Jon Benjamin Has a Van,” which features “Archer” star Benjamin as he uncovers oddities in a newsmagazine-style format. Benjamin and Andrew Steele are behind it. Patrice Oneal tackles race relations in a unique way with “Patrice Oneal’s Guide to White People,” from Michael Hirschorn and Gideon Evans. Then there’s the panel show “Live Sex Show,” hosted by comedian Bert Kreischer and “Attack of the Show” alum Layla Kayleigh. Jesse Ignatovic is EP, while Mat Harawitz is writing the project. Among new animated series in the works: “JC,” about Jesus Christ adapting to life in 21st century New York; “Joe Squad,” a parody of Saturday morning superhero cartoons; and “Supermax,” about the famous inmates of a maximum security prison. Comedians Reggie Watts (currently opening for Conan O’Brien) and Jim Jeffries also have shows in the works.