EXCLUSIVE: HBO has given a series order to Barry, its half-hour comedy pilot starring, co-written and directed by Bill Hader in Saturday Night Live alum’s return to television. The pilot, which stemmed from Hader’s exclusive development deal with HBO, also marked Hader’s directorial debut.

Co-written by Hader and Silicon Valley executive producer Alec Berg, Barry centers on an ex-Marine (Hader) who works as a low-rent hitman in the Midwest. Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he begrudgingly travels to Los Angeles to kill someone and ends up finding an accepting community in a group of eager hopefuls within the LA theater scene.

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The series, which co-stars Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau, an inspiring acting teacher; Stephen Root as Fuches, a man who arranges Barry’s hits; Sarah Goldberg as Sally, an aspiring actress who is Barry’s entree into LA’s theater scene; Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank, a Chechen gangster; and Glenn Fleshler as Goran Pazar, a Chechen gangster, will shoot in Los Angeles in 2017.

Hader and Berg executive produce.

Barry joins HBO comedy pilot Crashing, from Judd Apatow and Pete Holmes, which also was picked up to series. Coming later this year are new HBO comedy series Divorce, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and Issa Rae’s Insecure. 

Hader spent eight seasons on SNL where he was one of the most popular cast members of the past decade, creating such memorable characters as New York club scene expert Stefon. He has earned three Emmy nominations for his work on the venerable NBC sketch comedy show, two as a cast member as one for his stint as host. Hader also wrote for SNL as well as for Comedy Central’s South Park, sharing in an animated program Emmy.

Hader, repped by UTA and attorney Fred Toczek, will next be seen in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping and voicing a character in Finding Dory. In TV, he co-created and co-stars on IFC’s mocumentary series Documentary Now!

Berg is repped by UTA and attorney Ken Richman.