Related: 2014 FX Pilots
PREVIOUS EXCLUSIVE: Billy Crystal is returning to primetime. There is no official word, but I have learned that FX has picked up half-hour pilot The Comedians, toplined by the actor-comedian, to series. The Comedians, based on the 2004 Swedish series Ulveson And Herngren, stars Crystal as a superstar veteran comedian who is reluctantly paired with a younger, edgier comic (Josh Gad) for a late-night comedy sketch show. The project hails from an all-star creative team. Curb Your Enthusiasm and Borat‘s Larry Charles directed the pilot from a script he co-wrote with Crystal, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix, and Ben Wexler. The four executive produce with Mikkel Bondesen and Henrik Bastin of Fabrik Entertainment for Fox TV Studios. Carl Molinder and John Nordling of Stockholm-based Efti AB, which is behind the original series, also executive produce, while Fabrik’s Kristen Campo co-exec produces. Rounding out the cast are series regulars Stephanie Weir, Matt Oberg and Megan Ferguson.
The Comedians enjoyed a fast pickup decision, with FX brass making the call shortly after seeing the pilot. “We’re incredibly excited about The Comedians and the fact that Billy Crystal will be making his return to series television on FX,” President of Original Programming Nick Grad said in FX’s official announcement. “The chemistry between Billy and Josh is amazing, and Larry, Matt, Ben and Billy did a fantastic job of making what is certain to become one of the best comedies on TV.”
The Comedians marks Crystal’s first regular TV series in more than 30 years, since ABC’s 1977-81 comedy Soap. He also hosted his own variety show and did a stint on Saturday Night Live in the 1980s but has been focused on features and stage since, only returning to TV to host the Oscars and to direct and executive produce the HBO baseball movie 61*. The Comedians is the third pilot from FX’s extensive comedy slate to get a series pickup, joining Married and You’re the Worst. “If comedy is timing, we were wildly fortunate to land this material at a time when two true comedy superstars were open to doing a series,” FtvS President David Madden said.