Days after Saturday Night Live veterans Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam were let go from NBC’s late-night sketch series after six seasons, both were announced as stars of Showtime comedy pilots, Jamie Foxx and Tom Kapinos’ White Famous (Pharoah) and the Jason Katims and Stu Zicherman’s Mating (Killam). This also marks the official pilot pickup for Mating. We previously reported it was being eyed for a pilot order.
During the Showtime executive session, the network’s executives said that they had been negotiating individually with Pharoah and Killam for about a month.
“We were prepared to work around their SNL schedules,” said David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks. “Knowing they were going into their final year,” added Gary Levin, President of Programming.
Both Pharoah and Killam had one year left on their seven-year SNL contracts. Maybe it was the prospect of SNL not getting the duo’s undivided TV attention next season, but Pharoah and Killam were not picked up for their final year.
“It got easier scheduling-wise when they ended up getting released from the show,” Nevins said.
White Famous will focus 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 towards becoming “white famous.” Foxx executive produces with showrunner Kapinos (Californication). Tim Story (Barbershop), has joined the project as an executive producer and will direct the pilot. White Famous will be written by Kapinos, based on an idea by Foxx, who will guest star in a recurring role.
The project reunites Pharoah with Ride Along helmer Story. Pharaoh appeared in that film, as well as Get a Job, Intramural, Lola Versus and Chris Rock’s Top Five. He will next voice roles in the animated movie Sing alongside Matthew McConaughey, Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon, as well as the independent animated comedy The Adventures of Drunky,
A co-production between Lionsgate Television and Showtime, White Famous will be executive produced by Foxx, Kapinos, Story and Jamie King. Louis Fusaro will serve as co-executive producer.
Written by Zicherman, Mating will center on a recently divorced guy (Killam) who married young and now finds himself completely unprepared for the brave new, frank and fluid world of dating and hooking up.
The project, produced by Showtime, Universal TV and True Jack Productions, is an “annual anthology” as each season will focus on a different protagonist’s journey through modern dating and relationships. Zicherman, Katims and Michelle Lee executive produce.
In addition to his six seasons on SNL and standup comedy career, Killam’s TV credits include New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Community, Drunk History, Comedy Bang Bang, MADtv and Scrubs. He also voices the character of Frantic in the original animated series The Awesomes. He can also be seen in the upcoming film Brother Nature, and in the independent film Why We’re Killing Gunther opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, which Killam also wrote and directed.