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Tracy Morgan Comedy Series, Long a Project at FX Networks, Moves to TBS

Even before his crippling and much publicized 2014 car accident, comedian Tracy Morgan had a ten-episode comedy series under order at FXX. Now the latest iteration of that program will surface instead on rival TBS.

The Time Warner-owned cable network said it had picked up a ten-episode comedy series from Morgan. The untitled series is created and executive-produced by Jordan Peele of “Key & Peele,” along with John Carcieri. Morgan will also serve as executive producer, along with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum  and Joel Zadak of Principato Young, also an alumnus of Peele’s Comedy Central program.  The series is produced by Studio T, the in-house production studio for TBS and its sister outlet, TNT.

The premise is one that had been associated with the program slated for FX Networks, which the 21st Century Fox-owned outlet had discussed publicly as recently as January. After being released on good behavior from a 15-year prison stint, Morgan’s protagonist must assimilate into a society that has changed radically. TBS, part of Time Warner’s Turner unit. said its new single-camera comedy series will try  “to capture the rawness of Tracy’s stand up persona while also commenting on race relations, the Gen X/Millennial gap and the American penal system.”

“Tracy and Jordan are two of today’s most sought-after and authentically funny comedians, and this show captures all the hilarity you would expect from this brilliant duo,” said Brett Weitz, executive vice president of programming for TBS, in a prepared statement. “TBS is becoming a home for the most creative and diverse comedy creators in the business, and Tracy and Jordan are a perfect fit for this network.”

Series producers are rewriting the script, according to a person familiar with the situation. This person said the Morgan project became available in recent months and several networks had been pursuing it. The final contestants were TBS and Viacom’s Comedy Central, this person said.

TBS has been reworking itself in past months into a place for edgy comedy that appeals to young adults. In recent years, the network has been known as the home of Conan O’Brien’s late-night show, repeats of “The Big Bang Theory” and a smattering of genial, broad-based comedies. That has changed noticeably. In January, TBS launched the off-kilter comedic detective series “Angie Tribeca,” then followed it with the debut of “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” in February, “The Detour” in April and “Wrecked” in June. The new series, “People of Earth,” starring Wyatt Cenac, is expected to launch on Halloween, while “Search Party,” a dark comedy starring Alia Shawkat, is slated for November.

Release of the series could help boost Morgan’s comeback since being critically injured in the horrifying car crash. The comedian suffered brain injuries and broken bones after his SUV was rear-ended on the New Jersey Turnpike in June 2014. The crash killed  Morgan’s longtime friend and fellow comedian James McNair, who was a passenger in his vehicle. Morgan, best known for his stints on “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock,”  had to suffer through a challenging recuperation period.

Tracy Morgan is represented by CAA and Ken Richman at Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller L.L.P.  The Tannenbaum Company is represented by CAA and Jeff Finkelstein at Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano.  Jordan Peele is represented by CAA, Joel Zadak at Principato-Young Entertainment, and Jared Levine at Morris, Yorn, Barnes, Levine, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner & Gellman.

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