EXCLUSIVE: After his scene-stealing turn on 30 Rock, the NBC series’ co-star Tracy Morgan is toplining his own single-camera comedy project, this time on cable. FX has given a pilot order to Death Pact, from writer-creators Rob Long (Cheers) and Tad Safran (The Long Weekend) and producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum. In Death Pact, Morgan stars as a formerly lazy, pot-dealing assistant high school coach who returns to his hometown as a decorated war hero. He runs across three down-on-their-luck friends and former students and sucks them into his new radical self-help philosophy, which involves harsh consequences for failure. The pilot, produced by FX Prods, will film this summer in New York or New Jersey. “Needless to say anything starring Tracy Morgan could be off-the-charts hilarious and we’re betting this one is,” said FX’s EVP Original Programming Nick Grad. “Rob Long, Tad Safran, Eric Tannenbaum and Kim Tannenbaum have delivered a terrific starring vehicle for Tracy. We look forward to casting the other three co-stars and getting started with production. This is going to be fun.”
The edgy FX should be a suitable home for Morgan’s sensibility, as showcased in his not-always politically correct stand-up. At the cable network, he would join other stand-up comedians including most notably Louis CK. Since 30 Rock ended its run in January, Morgan has been focusing on his stand-up with his international Excuse My French tour. Before his seven-season stint on 30 Rock, which earned him an Emmy nomination, Morgan spent seven years on Saturday Night Live. FX Networks is ramping up comedy development and production as the company is preparing for the launch comedy-focused channel FXX, which will join flagship FX.
Long, Safran and the Tannenbaums, who executive produce Death Pact, worked together on another comedy project last year that was toplined by a co-star from a popular Hollywood-centered comedy series, Entourage‘s Kevin Connolly. The multi-camera family was set up at CBS through CBS TV Studios where the Tannenbaum Co. is based. Long co-created/executive produces the TBS comedy series Sullivan & Son and also co-wrote and exec produced TBS’ comedy pilot Do It Yourself, which didn’t get a series pickup earlier this month but was kept in contention. Morgan, Long, and the Tannenbaums are repped by CAA; Safran is with ICM Partners and Carel Cutler.