Nearly 30 years since his one season on “Saturday Night Live,” Billy Crystal is returning to television, as star and producer of a comedy pilot for FX called “The Comedians.”
The series, based on a Swedish show, will star Crystal as a famous comedy veteran who’s forced to work with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night sketch show. Crystal will write and produce along with an eclectic mix of TV veterans: “Seinfeld” alum Larry Charles (who will also direct the pilot), “Burn Notice” creator Matt Nix, and sitcom veteran Ben Wexler, who worked with Nix on the short-lived comic cop show “The Good Guys.”
If this gets picked up, it’ll be Crystal’s first regular TV gig since he was part of a cast of ringers on “SNL” (along with Martin Short, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer and others) in the 1984-85 season (check below for a clip of his signature character, Fernando, interviewing Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, because it was the mid-’80s). And before that, Crystal first hit it big playing Jodie Dallas – one of the first gay characters on American television – on ABC’s “Soap” from 1977-1981. He’s been on TV frequently in the decades since, most notably as nine-time host of the Academy Awards.
Now that FX is launching a spin-off channel, FXX, that will feature several current FX comedies, the mothership will need to repopulate itself a bit. “The Comedians” could be one way to do that.