Comedy Central OKs Heder sitcom

Will Ferrell's Gary Sanchez Prods. to produce

Comedy Central has greenlit a sitcom starring Jon Heder from Will Ferrell’s Gary Sanchez Prods. shingle.

Cabler has ordered 10 episodes of the series to be written by Ferrell and Gary Sanchez principals Adam McKay and Chris Henchy.

The project is also set to go the same route that Tyler Perry’s successful TBS sitcoms have taken.

Syndie distrib Debmar-Mercury has teamed with Gary Sanchez to distrib the Heder laffer in firstrun syndication if the first 10 segs click for Comedy Central. If the first batch of episodes deliver a solid rating, another 90 episodes will automatically be picked up. Comedy Central will have the first window for all original episodes.

Debmar-Mercury is the distrib for Perry’s “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.” The distrib also recently teamed with Comedy Central to handle off-net sales on “South Park.”

Debmar-Mercury would profit nicely if the Heder sitcom proves successful: It will receive a license fee from Comedy Central on original episodes and then receive syndie coin on top of that when the show launches elsewhere.

According to Debmar co-head Mort Marcus, production costs will be about half those of a typical studio sitcom.

“Because everything is being done at an efficient price, everyone is deferring their pay,” Marcus said. “The real money is on the backend.”

Untitled half-hour will feature the “Napoleon Dynamite” star as an out-of-work IT specialist who leaves the city and returns to his small hometown to live with his parents and younger brother.

“We heard the pitch from them a few months ago and, for us, the idea of being in business with them was phenomenal,” Comedy Central programming prexy Lauren Corrao told Daily Variety.

Scripted multicamera sitcom will be only the second in the net’s history, following political laffer “That’s My Bush.”

“This deal gives us a chance to take some big creative swings without the risk of testing and focus grouping the show to death,” said McKay, whose Gary Sanchez Prods. currently has HBO’s “Eastbound and Down” prepping for a second season.

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