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‘Gaggle’ roosting at HBO

Satire to increase cabler's political coverage

HBO is developing a political satire series, “The Gaggle,” to bolster its lineup during the campaign for the White House in 2008.

Named for the informal kibitzing between White House beat reporters and the press secretary that takes place before the televised briefing, “The Gaggle” will cast a younger generation of political journalists in a political opinion show that uses comedy as one of its key drivers.

Appearing in the first pilot, performed live at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, was Ana Marie Cox, the former Wonkette blogger and author of political novel “Dog Days”; standup comedian Marc Maron; and Republican operative Mike Murphy, who managed campaigns for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 2008 presidential aspirant Mitt Romney.

The show will differ from HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher” in that it will tap a younger, snarkier group of up-and-coming political journos, and no particular host will drive the show’s agenda.

On the basis of the show’s trial at the fest, HBO inked a development deal with creator and producer Craig Minassian, who consulted on Comedy Central’s “Indecision 2004” coverage and worked in the Clinton White House as assistant to press secretary Joe Lockhart.

“The Gaggle” would join a boomlet of political and news satire shows hoping to hook into the 2008 cycle, including Fox News’ “The ½ Hour News Hour.”

Such shows have become standard stops for any serious candidate for national office hoping to make a connection with younger viewers.

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