Comedy Central has ordered 10 episodes of a new sitcom project starring Jon Heder, but the deal could bring much much much more of the “Napoleon Dynamite” star to cable.
The multi-camera comedy, still untitled, will star Heder as an out-of-work computer IT specialist who leaves the big city and returns to his hometown, where he moves in with his parents and younger brother.
Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy will write and produce through their Gary Sanchez Productions banner. The comedy is distributed by Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein of Debmar-Mercury, the company behind Tyler Perry’s TBS sitcoms.
There’s where things get interesting on this project: While Comedy Central has initially ordered 10 episodes of the Heder sitcom, the cable network then has the option to order an additional 90 episodes after the first-season run, a model similar to the launching pattern for Perry’s sitcoms.
“Combining the creative genius of the Gary Sanchez gang with the brilliant business model established by Mort and Ira at Debmar-Mercury should ensure many, many great laughs in the years to come on Comedy Central,” says Michele Ganeless, president, Comedy Central, in the network’s statement.
Comedy Central’s president for original programming and development Lauren Corrao adds, “With a proven track record featuring some of the most memorable comedy films ever made, we are so excited to be in business with Will, Adam, Chris and Jon.”
Heder broke out as the star of the sleeper hit “Napoleon Dynamite” and had his biggest subsequent hit co-starring with Ferrell in “Blades of Glory.” If you’ve somehow missed “The Benchwarmers,” “School for Scoundrels,” “Moving McAllister” and “Mama’s Boy,” there are probably a variety of reasons.
“We’ve always been fans of Jon’s,” McKay states. “This deal gives us a chance to take some big creative swings without the risk of testing and focus grouping the show to death.”
Gary Sanchez Productions previously brought “Eastbound & Down” to HBO, while Debmar-Mercury previous partnered with Comedy Central to distribute the broadcast syndication rights to “South Park.”
“We immediately jumped at the opportunity to be in business with this elite team of A-list comedy talents, who are among a handful of people in Hollywood capable of pulling off a project of this magnitude,” states Marcus.
Adds Bernstein, “As we expand on a proven business model, we could not be more pleased that Comedy Central chose this concept to serve as its first full-fledged, live-action original sitcom.”
The untitled Jon Heder comedy will premiere on Comedy Central in 2010.