Maker Studios, the YouTube multichannel network being acquired by Disney, struck a deal with comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele” and Principato-Young Entertainment to produce an original shortform slapstick comedy series.
The show, “Ithamar Has Nothing to Say,” stars Ithamar Enriquez (“The Office,” “The League”) and is produced by Principato-Young, Key, Peele, Enriquez and Frank Caeti. Key and Peele are also set to guest star.
The six-episode series follows Enriquez exploring different aspects of American culture for the first time, all without uttering a single word. Situations include him attempting to fit into a hipster coffee shop, using his body to “feel” jazz music and pitching Hollywood execs (played by Key and Peele) on a film. The show, with five- to eight-minute episodes, is like “Mr. Bean” meets “Louie” meets “Walter Mitty,” according to PYE head of digital Corey Moss.
Maker will feature “Ithamar Has Nothing to Say” at its Digital Content NewFronts presentation Tuesday in New York, along with other new series.
Maker did not announce when the show will launch, or which platforms it will be distributed on. The MCN recently branded its YouTube comedy hub as “Nacho Punch,” which includes Warner Bros. Television Group’s Studio 2.0 comedy series “Robin Banks and the Bank Roberts” and “Next Time on Lonny” from Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films.
Key and Peele have previously worked with Maker, having starred in two episodes of the MCN’s “Epic Rap Battles of History” (“Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr.” and “Michael Jordan vs. Muhammad Ali”). Key and Peele also co-starred alongside Maker co-founder Lisa Donovan on Fox’s “Mad TV” sketch show.
“Key and Peele are two of the smartest comedians today, known for creating sharp, witty sketches that push boundaries,” said Maker Studios chief content officer Erin McPherson, former head of Yahoo’s video biz. “Enriquez is a natural talent, and the unique character he has created, Ithamar, will cross global boundaries.”
Added Key and Peele in a joint statement: “The show is going to have a very broad appeal, and we need someone who can reach a really wide audience.”
Disney is acquiring Maker Studios in a deal worth up to $950 million; the deal last week received approval by the Federal Trade Commission. Maker’s network, which targets millennial audiences, delivers more than 5.5 billion monthly video views and its channels have 380 million subscribers.
Enriquez is repped by David Shapira & Associates and Key is repped by UTA. Peele is managed by Principato-Young.