Frog goes blue-collar with comedy

'Mad' alums Bahr, Small to exec produce

The WB might stand for “Wal-Mart Broadcasting.”

Frog net has picked up six episodes of a sketch comedy series starring standup headliners Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy.

Project comes on the heels of the trio’s successful “Blue Collar Comedy Tour,” which grossed more than $15 million — making it one of the most successful comedy tours of all time.

“Mad TV” alums Fax Bahr and Adam Small are set to exec produce the half-hour, which will be shot in Atlanta.

According to Foxworthy, the sketch show came about after the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” was filmed and released as a concert feature. Foxworthy and J.P. Williams, who was instrumental in putting together the “Blue Collar” movie, will also exec produce the sketch show alongside Bahr and Small.

Foxworthy, who starred for two seasons in the ABC/NBC laffer “The Jeff Foxworthy Show,” said he wasn’t itching to return to television — but that a sketch comedy show felt like the “perfect fit.”

“Having done the sitcom, I knew I didn’t want to do that again,” he said. “But we knew we had something. And the response to the movie opened people’s eyes.”

Prior to that, Foxworthy said most TV execs wanted to put him in a “Hee Haw” style environment. It wasn’t until he met with WB execs that he felt comfortable with moving forward.

“These guys got it, it was the only way I wanted to do TV again,” he said.

A blue collar-oriented sketch show may seem like a bizarre match for the WB, which has been better known for young-skewing dramas like “Dawson’s Creek.” But most of the net’s top-rated skeins — “7th Heaven,” “Reba” and “Smallville” — actually take place and appeal to a more middle America crowd.

“This is not on the air right now, we’re doing something that targets the consumer, which is good for a network like ours that scores so well in the suburban center of the country,” said WB Entertainment prexy Jordan Levin. “And the comedy brand at the WB is broader than the drama has been in some cases.”

Bahr and Small, who cut their chops on “In Living Color,” dubbed the show “In Living Blue Collar.”

“What Keenan (Ivory Wayans) did for the urban set, we want Jeff, Bill and Larry to do for their enormous, loyal audience,” said the duo, who also exec produce the WB’s “JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.”

Foxworthy, Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy have all released successful comedy albums; in addition to selling 13 million records, Foxworthy also hosts a syndicated radio show and is a best-selling author.

Project was packaged by William Morris, J.P. Williams and John Moonves; Bahr and Small are repped by UTA.

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