Fox, Holcomb ink for laffer

Award-winning comic's deal is first under Power deal

MONTREAL — Twentieth Century Fox Television has inked Chicago standup comic Corey Holcomb to a development deal following Holcomb’s performance Thursday night in the New Faces series at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival.

Holcomb has signed with Fox to develop a sitcom to be launched next fall on the Fox network. Execs at Fox said it’s too early to provide more details of the series, which will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television along with David Goldman and Robert Hartman from Power Entertainment, Holcomb’s manager.

Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox Television signed a first-look deal with Power Entertainment to help Fox scout up-and-coming talent; Holcomb reps the first signing since the arrangement was set up.

“He’s a really fresh and original voice,” said Marcia Shulman, senior veepee of talent and casting at 20th Century Fox Television. “This is the kind of star that Fox has been looking for. He’s an Everyman. He’s an African-American man, but what he has to say transcends all color lines. It’s going to be a funny show, not a black show.”

Holcomb has been performing for almost a decade, but he has a relatively low profile in Hollywood. He has won top prizes in a number of competitions, including the Miller Genuine Draft Comedy Search, Budweiser Comedy Competition, Chicago Home Jam and Laffapalooza (where he was first spotted by the Fox scouts). Holcomb has also appeared on “HBO Def Comedy Jam,” BET’s “Comic View” and “It’s Showtime at the Apollo.”

The Fox deal was clinched after Ann Maney, director of comedy casting, saw Holcomb’s six-minute standup routine Thursday night in Montreal.

Four years ago, Fox signed Christopher Titus out of the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival; he went on to create the hit series “Titus” for the Fox network. Titus is back at this year’s festival performing in the show “Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding.” Fest wrapped Sunday night.

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