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Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers’ ‘Documentary Now!’ Renewed Before IFC Premiere

IFC is betting big on “Documentary Now!,” giving a second and third season to Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers’ parody project ahead of its series premiere on Thursday.

The “Saturday Night Live” alums created, wrote and and executive produced the seven-part series that offers a different look at some of the world’s best-known documentary films. It’s also co-created and executive produced by Rhys Thomas and exec produced by Broadway Video’s Andrew Singer. It employs familiar “SNL” names: Thomas and Alex Buono serve as the show’s directors, John Mulaney is consulting producer and Erik Kenward is supervising producer.

Hosted by Helen Mirren, “Documentary Now!’s” subjects include “Grey Gardens” and “The Thin Blue Line.” The final episode for season one is a send-up of rock docs titled “Gentle & Soft: The Story of the Blue Jean Committee,” and will air as a two-part episode.

This is the first time IFC has renewed a series before its debut, which IFC president Jennifer Caserta said “is a huge nod to the creative and comedic genius of Fred, Bill and Seth.”

“We’re immensely proud of what they’ve created alongside Rhys, and thrilled with the buzz and critical acclaim the show is already receiving,” she added.

The deal also continues IFC’s recent track record of keeping Lorne Michaels’ “SNL” disciples employed. In addition to Armisen’s sketch series “Portlandia,” which wrapped its fifth season in March, IFC recently aired Will Ferrell’s “The Spoils Before Dying” — its sequel to his 2014 comedic miniseries “The Spoils of Babylon.”

Thomas, Buono, Hader, Armisen and Meyers recently discussed the show at IFC’s Television Critics Association day at the Beverly Hilton — an event that was preceded by a (barely) disguised Armisen serenading passersby at the hotel lobby. They stressed that this series is meant with the utmost respect for these films.

“We went out of our way in most cases to find, you know, the sort of most literal steps to each documentary,” Thomas said. “So in ‘The Thin Blue Line’ we had the actual set of lenses that Errol Morris shot that doc on. And similarly with ‘The Kunuk,’ we got some glass from the 1920s.”

“Documentary Now!” premieres at 10 p.m. August 20 on IFC.

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