EXCLUSIVE: Silicon Valley co-creator Mike Judge is returning to his animated roots with Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus, which has been picked up by HBO sister network Cinemax with an eight-episode series order. The half-hour animated comedy series is currently in production for premiere later this year.
Co-created by Judge, Richard Mullins, and The Last Ride co-writer Dub Cornett, Mike Judge Presents: Tales From The Tour Bus chronicles the tales of some of country music’s most eccentric characters. Judge and Cornett executive produce. Bob Engelman (The Mask) is co-executive producer and Mullins is producing.
This is a first foray into original comedy series for Cinemax, whose only previous comedy was cult Canadian import SCTV Channel in the early 1980s.
The pickup for Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus comes as Cinemax is recalibrating its original programming strategy, returning to fun, high-octane, action, pulpy, straight-to-series dramas done in a cost-effective way primarily as international co-productions. When Deadline recently asked Cinemax programming president Kary Antholis if comedy series would fit into the new programming direction, he said, “Yes, I’m open to half-hours, but we’ve got to be able to do them at a price and … it has to be on brand for Cinemax.”
Judge’s career in TV animation was launched in 1992 when MTV picked up his animated short, Frog Baseball. A year later, MTV spun off its Beavis and Butt-head characters into a TV series of their own, which became a pop culture phenom and aired from 1993-98. It was briefly revived in 2011. Judge provided the voices for both characters. The long-running Fox series King of the Hill, which Judge co-created, won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program in 1999. Judge voiced lead character Hank Hill as well as others including the mushmouthed Boomhauer. In February, Judge is set to receive the WGA Lifetime Achievement Award in animation at the guild’s awards ceremony.
Judge’s foray into live-action comedy with Silicon Valley, which Judge co-created with John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, is heading to its fourth season on HBO. The critically praised series has landed a slew of Emmy nominations, including three straight for best comedy series.