Universal Cable Productions is making a push into comedy, signing a first-look deal with improv and sketch comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade. Under the deal, the group, led by co-founders Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh, will develop scripted programming for NBCUniversal’s portfolio of cable networks as well as external networks and streaming services. Under the pact, the two companies already are working on five series projects, We Can Fix You, based on the UCB stage show; House of Delta; Sing, The Peligroso Project and Hell House.
The deal expands UCP’s relationship with three UCB alumni: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, creators and stars of Playing House on USA, which has been renewed for a third season, and Amy Poehler, executive producer of Difficult People premiering its second season on Hulu July 12.
“UCB is comprised of a group of amazingly talented people who are fearless when it comes to taking comedic risks,” said Dawn Olmstead, EVP, Development at UCP. “This partnership is a perfect fit for the studio because it allows us to incubate fresh ideas and make our mark in the comedy space by tapping into UCB’s unique point of view. We’re thrilled to be working with them.”
UCB projects in development include:
WE CAN FIX YOU
Is your personal life in need of an overhaul? Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and a team of UCB comedians take on the personal problems of a studio audience and then, using unorthodox methods, set out to transform their lives for the better. They may not be trained, but their empathy runs deep. Based on the successful UCB stage show. Matt Besser, Owen Burke, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Aliyah Silverstein serve as executive producers.
HOUSE OF DELTA
The cutthroat inner machinations of a Southern sorority as told through the dramatic lens of a political thriller. If you think the drama depicted in David Fincher’s “House of Cards” is intense, wait until you get a glimpse of the dark inner workings of the Delta Omega sorority at Southeast Georgia State University! Laura Grey and Megan Stein to write and executive produce.
A parody of musically-driven TV shows (“Empire,” “Nashville,” “Glee”) that follows a group of misfits in the surprisingly high-stakes world of Karaoke. Jeff Hiller and Pam Murphy are executive producers/writers.
THE PELIGROSO PROJECT
Horatio Sanz (“Saturday Night Live”) and Tom Gianas (“Mr. Show with Bob and David”) present a comedy series showcasing writing and performances from the next generation of Latino talent. Each episode features sketch comedy performed in front of a live studio audience, digital shorts and live man-on-the-street bits.
This mockumentary series follows the passionate but misguided members of a church planning committee as they prepare for their biggest event of the year: a sin-themed haunted house. Adam McCabe, Noam Bleiweiss and Betsy Sodaro to write and executive produce.