EXCLUSIVE: Actor-comedian David Koechner has signed a talent holding deal with NBC. Under the pact, he is attached to star in Greg Daniels’ comedy project Friday Night Dinner and possibly do more episodes of The Office, where he has appeared occasionally since the second season. The deal expands Koechner’s relationship with The Office showrunner Daniels.
Like The Office, Friday Night Dinner also is based on a UK series. The original, created by Robert Popper and airing on Channel 4, is about a traditional but not strictly observant Jewish family and chronicles their Shabbat dinners. It centers on brothers Adam and Jonny who reluctantly visit their parents — mom Jackie, who is obsessed with Masterchef, and dad Martin, who loves to walk around shirtless — for a home-cooked meal. Adding to the gallery of oddball characters is a grandmother who struts her stuff in a bikini and eccentric neighbor Jim who constantly interrupts dinner. Daniels originally explored a role as supervisor/executive producer on the project and met with a number of writers but ultimately decided to write the adaptation himself. While he was still writing the script, NBC put the project on a fast track, getting a casting director to explore casting choices and looking at directors. (Ken Kwapis, who helmed the pilot of The Office, has circled the potential pilot.)
As for The Office, it was unclear whether, with Michael Scott gone from Dunder Mifflin, his obnoxious BFF Todd Packer, played by Koechner, would return. I hear that now is a strong possibility, especially in case Friday Night Dinner doesn’t go the distance. ImprovOlympic and Second City alum Koechner, repped by CAA, started off as a performer on Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Conan O’Brien before segueing into TV and film acting.