Add “Insecure’s” Prentice Penny to the list of showrunners who are doing star turns in front of the camera. Turner’s TruTV has given a 12-episode order to “Upscale with Prentice Penny,” an unscripted series from Defy Media featuring Penny exploring how to achieve the good life, even on a budget.
Penny is showrunner and exec producer of the new HBO comedy “Insecure,” starrring Issa Rae. The series opened Sunday to glowing reviews for its fresh and frank take on the life of a romantically challenged professional African-American woman.
“Like so many people from working-class families, I grew up believing that a high-end lifestyle also comes with a high price tag. As I got older I learned that doesn’t have to be the case,” said Penny. “With ‘Upscale,’ I want to show people that cost and quality aren’t mutually exclusive, and an elevated life can come at every price point.”
The half-hour show will be exec produced by Penny and Defy Media’s Chris Pollack and Jared Hoffman. It’s set to premiere next spring.
“Prentice’s unique point of view, enviable sense of style and comedic insights make ‘Upscale’ truly relatable for everyone,” said Marissa Ronca, exec VP and head of programming for truTV. “He brings incredible talent, creativity and an infectious curiosity to the series and we’re all looking forward to him upscaling our lives.”
Penny joins a steady stream of showrunners who are taking on side gigs as hosts. Dan Harmon of “Community” fame is the host of an offbeat pilot for IFC, “Great Minds.” Larry Wilmore, a veteran multihyphenate veteran who is co-creator of “Insecure,” had an 18-month run as host of Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show.” And “Everybody Loves Raymond” boss Phil Rosenthal hosts a foodie travelogue series for PBS, “I’ll Have What Phil’s Having.”
Of course, “Seinfeld” showrunner Larry David remains the gold standard of showrunner-to-star trajectories with his run on HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Penny’s other TV credits as a writer include ABC’s “Happy Endings,” Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and UPN’s “Girlfriends.”