Fox is beefing up its midseason comedy roster, ordering six episodes of a new half-hour DreamWorks TV laffer from “Freaks and Geeks” producers Paul Feig and Judd Apatow.
Duo will move from high school to college with the untitled sitcom, which will be an ensemble single-camera comedy set in a freshman dorm.
Feig and Apatow will both serve as creators and executive producers for the skein via Apatow’s overall deal with the studio. Production is set to start in November.
Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman and DreamWorks TV topper Dan McDermott announced the deal Tuesday.
” ‘Freaks and Geeks’ demonstrated (Feig’s and Apatow’s) ability to take risks, defy conventions and remain ahead of the curve,” said Berman. “That’s the kind of programming we want to do at Fox.”
Feig, who created “Freaks,” just earned an Emmy nom for writing the pilot of the NBC series. He’s also a thesp, having appeared in series such as “The Jackie Thomas Show” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.”
Since officially taking on her new gig last month, Berman has been moving quickly to add to Fox’s bench depth.
In addition to the new Feig/Apatow laffer, she recently sealed a unique deal with Studios USA for a revival of the classic docudrama series “In Search Of …” (Daily Variety, July 26). Fox and USA Network will share a primetime window for the series, which could debut as soon as November.
Feig and Apatow, whose “Freaks and Geeks” garnered praise from crix but low ratings, said they were “happy to be part of this exciting new trend in network television: fully scripted, non-reality programming.”
In an interview with Daily Variety, Apatow said his new collaboration with Feig “will be very different from ‘Freaks and Geeks.’ ”
” ‘Freaks and Geeks’ was about the oppression of high school,” he said. “This is about the freedom of college and what kids choose to do with it. This isn’t about the underdogs.”
While Apatow and Feig have both been very public about their frustration with NBC’s marketing and scheduling of “Freaks,” Apatow said he didn’t pause a second when given the chance to create another network show.
“I was ready to rock,” he said. “The overall experience of ‘Freaks’ was positive. We did 18 episodes that we really loved. That’s three seasons in England.”
Apatow snagged an Emmy as a writer on “The Ben Stiller Show”; he picked up five noms for his work on “The Larry Sanders Show.”
Apatow is repped by UTA and Gold-Miller.