EXCLUSIVE: Ken Kwapis’ dark comedy Trending Down is inching closer to a pilot order at Showtime. I’ve learned that the pay cable network has started casting the lead role in the project, Thom Payne, who is facing his own obsolescence at a shockingly young age. Thom just celebrated his 35th birthday and his company is being taken over. He is out of shape and has become complacent with his life.

It is a standard practice for pay cable networks to try to cast the lead of a starring series vehicle before giving the project a green light. The comedy was written by author and This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander. The project was developed through Kwapis and his producing partner Alexandra Beattie’s company In Cahoots, with Kwapis serving as executive producer alongside Auslander and Beattie as co-executive producer.