Rescue Me co-creator/star Denis Leary is back in business with FX, this time on the comedy side. FX Networks has given a pilot order to Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, written by and starring Leary as a middle-aged rock ‘n roller who desperately wanted to be rich and famous but so far, he’s 0 for 2. The show will feature original music and occasional guest appearances by actual rock stars. The pilot, tentatively slated to film in the spring in New York City, is produced by FX Prods. and Fox Television Studios where Leary and Jim Serpico’s Apostle has a cable deal. Leary and Serpico exec produce. As is the case with most FX comedy pilots, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is being ordered under the FX Networks umbrella, with a decision whether the project would be for flagship FX or comedy-centric FXX to be made at a series pickup. “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is a terrific script and concept with Denis Leary’s signature brand of comedy,” said FX president of original programming Eric Schrier. “Denis is a tremendous talent who played a major role in the growth of our network with Rescue Me, which was one of the most groundbreaking series of the last decade.” Added Leary, “I am very excited to be returning to FX where working with Nick (Grad), Eric and John Landgraf has been one of the best creative experiences of my life. Plus I hear they have much better swag now.”
Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, which has no connection to Eric Bogosian’s play of the same name, is centered on Johnny Rock (Leary) who, as the magnificently talented lead singer of New York’s legendary early 90’s band The Heathens, was on his way to the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. His best friend Flash was being called the next number one lead guitar player on planet earth. The critics loved them. Their live shows were selling out. But Johnny had a problem with booze. And coke. And weed. And pills. And cough medicine. And oh yeah – he slept with Flash’s wife. And his bass player’s fiancée. The band broke up the same day their first and only record was released. 25 years later Johnny is trying to get the band back together. Why? Because as his soon-to-be-ex manager Ira Feinbaum tells him: “Johnny, you’re 50, broke and completely anonymous. In rock ‘n roll you know what that makes you? A bartender.” 25 years later the sex might be harder to find, the drugs might be Luvox and Crestor and Cialis – but rock ‘n roll will never die. It just has a bigger prostate.
Leary, Serpico and Apostle are currently in production on the upcoming USA series, Sirens, and also produce the IFC comedy Maron, starring Marc Maron, both through FtvS. Leary is repped by WME and Ziffren, Brittenham.
With two networks carrying comedy series, FX Networks has been very aggressive in half-hour development, with Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll joining seven other live-action and animated comedy pilots, including the Billy Crystal-Josh Gad starrer The Comedians, also produced by FtvS.