HBO, Garofalo near skein

Thesp in final talks to star in laffer

In what could turn into HBO’s first major series commitment since “The Sopranos,” the feevee cabler and Warner Bros. Television are closing in on a $1.75 million deal to have thesp Janeane Garofalo (“Dogma”) star in a comedy skein.

Garofalo has a solid history with HBO: She was a regular player on the net’s critically hailed laffer “The Larry Sanders Show” and has done two standup specs for the cabler. At least two other webs expressed an interest in snagging her for a series deal, but Garofalo’s reps opted to pitch her to HBO alone.

Insiders familiar with the pact are calling it a development deal in which Garofalo would work with HBO and Warner Bros. TV to create a regular comedy skein. Because HBO’s development process is radically different from that of the Big Six webs, the net has not made an official pilot commitment to a project, which would be co-produced by 3 Arts Entertainment.

But the $1.75 million figure HBO has guaranteed Garofalo indicates that the cabler strongly believes she can support a series, making it more likely than not that a series will emerge at the end of the process. The web has been taking its time searching for a follow-up to “The Sopranos,” passing on several potential dramas once considered favorites to land on the net’s primetime roster.

Script hunt

There’s no concept attached to Garofalo’s deal, though her reps have already begun searching for scripts and scribes to match with Garofalo, with one nonfiction book franchise said to be an early candidate.

Despite her success in features, Garofalo has deep television roots. In addition to “Larry Sanders,” Garofalo spent the 1994-95 season on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and was also a correspondent on indie filmmaker Michael Moore’s gonzo reality skein “TV Nation.” She’s also the voice of Sally on the WB’s “Felicity.”

Long Stiller stint

Garofalo first began developing a cult fan base on “The Ben Stiller Show,” the short-lived but critically worshiped sketch comedy series that aired in 1992 on Fox Broadcasting. She and Stiller have since worked on several projects together, including last summer’s “Mystery Men,” the Stiller-helmed “The Cable Guy” and “Reality Bites.”

Other Garofalo feature credits include “Clay Pigeons,” “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “The Matchmaker” and “Cop Land.”

Garofalo’s deal was brokered by UTA and managers Dave Rath and Kara Welker-Ryder of 3 Arts.

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