Comedian and partner Feresten develop sketch show for Fox
Dana Carvey is plotting a TV comeback, partnering with scribe-turned-TV host Spike Feresten to develop and star in a new sketch comedy series for Fox.Fox has picked up a half-hour pilot presentation for the as-yet unnamed Carvey/Feresten project, which will shoot next month. Brillstein Entertainment Partners is producing. Carvey and Feresten are both repped by CAA. Separately at Fox, which holds its portion of the TV Critics Assn. press tour today, the net was expected to give an early sophomore season order to hit musical “Glee.” Net also appeared closer to its long-awaited pickup of the Simon Cowell reality competish “X-Factor.” Carvey and Feresten are keeping mum on details for their show, but said they were looking to put a new twist on the sketch genre. The duo will write, executive produce and star in the project. “I thought it would be a lot of fun to do a sketch comedy show,” said Carvey, who came up with the show concept while meeting Feresten for coffee. “Spike and I laugh at the same stuff and share a similar sensibility.” ABC and Fox both expressed interest in the project; Carvey said the duo eventually decided that Fox’s sensibility repped a better fit for what they were doing. Project reps a quick return to Fox for Feresten, whose Saturday night yakker “Talkshow With Spike Feresten” was just recently halted by the network. It’s also a reunion for Carvey and Feresten, who worked together on “Saturday Night Live.” Additionally, Feresten was a writer on Carvey’s ill-fated 1996 sketch series on ABC. Carvey and Feresten said their new show will be slightly more mainstream than projects they’ve worked on in the past. “There will be more accessibility to the conceit,” Carvey said. “The dryness or subversive elements will be a bit more subtle and less alternative.” The Carvey/Feresten project won’t be shot on a soundstage, or in front of a live audience; the twosome plan to film it on location. Show will also include a strong online component, they noted. Feresten’s Fox yakker, after all, launched several viral video hits (including a famous one that parodied the digital TV transition). Carvey and one-time “Seinfeld” scribe Feresten hinted that they might enlist friends and fellow comedians to participate in the show as well. “We have a lot of friends, and want to play with our friends,” Carvey said. Carvey’s “The Dana Carvey Show,” which also featured then-unknowns Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert, was recently released on DVD for the first time. Reviews, which were harsh when the show aired 14 years ago, were strong this time around — including at least one that called the show “ahead of its time.” Carvey’s recent credits include the HBO special “Dana Carvey: Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies.” Before jumping in front of the camera, Feresten’s other credits included “Late Show With David Letterman” and “The Michael Richards Show.” Meanwhile, a “Glee” second-season pickup wouldn’t be much of a surprise — the show has been a fall success story for Fox — but will give show producers an extra early jump on plotting next season’s storylines. And while insiders said it was still unlikely that Fox would announce “X-Factor” today, a pickup does appear to be imminent. It’s unclear, however, whether the deal would be tied into Cowell’s “American Idol” duties. Cowell has hinted that he might leave “Idol” after this season. “The X-Factor,” created by Cowell (and owned by Sony), is a smash hit in Cowell’s native United Kingdom.
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