Showtime has ordered new half-hour comedy series White Famous toplined by Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharoah, Showtime president David Nevins announced during the network’s TCA executive session. The project — based on Jamie Foxx’s personal experiences coming up in the business — was one of three comedy pilots ordered by the network, along with Mating, starring fellow ex-SNL star Taran Killam, and SMILF. I hear both remain in contention, with SMILF considered a hot prospect.
White Famous — from Californication creator Tom Kapinos, director Tim Story and Foxx, who is a recurring guest star — is a co-production between Lionsgate TV, which helped Showtime launch its original comedy brand with Weeds, and Showtime. It marks the first series pickup at Showtime for Lionsgate since the company acquired rival premium cable network Starz.
White Famous focuses on a talented, young African-American comedian, Floyd Mooney (Pharoah), whose star is rising, forcing him to navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining his credibility as he begins to cross-over toward becoming “white famous.”
The series will be written and executive produced by Kapinos, and executive produced by Foxx. Megalyn Echikunwoke plays Floyd’s ex-girlfriend Sadie, the love of his life and the mother of his son. Utkarsh Ambudkar plays Malcolm, Floyd’s frustrated agent who wants his client to do whatever it takes to make it big. Jacob Ming-Trent and Lonnie Chavis also star. Stephen Tobolowsky guest stars in the series’ pilot.