The hot cable comedy project, which has Billy Crystal attached to star, co-write and executive produce, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix co-writing/executive producing and Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directing/co-writing and executive producing, has been picked up by FX with a pilot order. Titled The Comedians, the single-camera comedy, which was taken out earlier this month, is produced by Fox TV Studios, marking the first FX pilot to not come out of the in-house FX Prods.
In The Comedians, Crystal plays a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comedian for a late-night comedy sketch show. It is based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, starring comedians Felix Herngren and Johan Ulveson as they put together a sketch program. Charles is set to direct the pilot, which is said to be in the documentary style he perfected on another cable comedy starring a veteran stand-up comedian, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. Charles, Nix and Crystal are co-writing with comedy writer-producer Ben Wexler, who previously worked with Nix on Nix’s Fox dramedy The Good Guys. The four executive produce with Nix’s manager, producer Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin, both of Fabrik Entertainment (formerly Fuse), which, like Nix, is under a deal at FtvS. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce. Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. “It truly is an honor to be in business with Billy Crystal and Larry Charles, two of the all-time greats in comedy,” said FX president John Landgraf. “We have also wanted for some time to be in business with Matt Nix, who has done such an amazing job creating and running Burn Notice.” Added FtvS president David Madden, “We also remain gratified to be in business with Fabrik – Mikkel, Henrik and Kristen somehow continue to unearth incredibly special formats that seem to translate and resonate for U.S. audiences.” It hasn’t been specified, but The Comedians will likely be for the main FX channel vs. upstart FXX.
This marks Crystal’s return to TV. After stints on Soap, his own variety show and Saturday Night Live in the 1980s, Crystal has been focused on features, only returning to TV to host the Oscars and to direct and executive produce the HBO baseball movie 61*. Wexler most recently worked on NBC’s Community. Charles most recently directed ABC’s comedy pilot Mixology, which was picked up to series. Crystal next reprises his role in the voice cast of Pixar’s Monsters Inc. prequel. Crystal is with CAA, Charles and Nix are with WME.
Here is a “best of” reel for Ulveson And Herngren for those who understand Swedish.