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 Beattieā€™s company In Cahoots, with Kwapis serving as executive producer alongside Auslander and Beattie as co-executive producer.