EXCLUSIVE: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is returning to primetime, this time on cable. HBO has picked up to series Veep, the D.C.-set comedy pilot from British comedian, writer and director Armando Iannucci, which stars the Seinfeld alumna. Set “very near the White House,” Veep centers on former Sen. Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus), who becomes Vice President only to discover that the job is nothing like she expected and everything everyone ever warned her about. Co-starring in the project are Anna Chlumsky as her chief of staff, Tony Hale as her right-hand man and Sufe Bradshaw as her assistant as well as Reid Scott, Tim Simons and Matt Walsh. Iannucci co-wrote and directed the pilot. He executive produces the series with Chris Godsick and New York Magazine’s Frank Rich, who has a deal with HBO. Simon Blackwell, who co-wrote the pilot with Iannucci, co-executive produces, and Louis-Dreyfus serves as producer. Veep begins production this fall for a 2012 premiere.
This is the second consecutive female-centered comedy pilot ordered to series at HBO following the January pickup of the Lena Dunham pilot executive produced by Judd Apatow. Louis-Dreyfus has won two Emmys, one for NBC’s Seinfeld and one for CBS’ The New Adventures of Old Christine. She has had a presence at HBO with a recurring role on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, where she plays herself. Iannucci has long political satire experience. His popular and BAFTA-winning British comedy series The Thick of It satirizes the inner workings of the British government. (Blackwell was one of his top writers on that series). The Thick of It spawned the 2009 feature spinoff In the Loop starring Tom Hollander and James Gandolfini that earned an Oscar nomination for its script, co-written by Iannucci and Blackwell. HBO’s latest series, fantasy drama Game of Thrones, premieres tomorrow night.