EXCLUSIVE: 30 Rock alum Keith Powell, Jill Knox (Keith Broke A Leg), Shakina Nayfack (Transparent), Ely Henry (Suburgatory) and Preacher Lawson (America’s Got Talent) are set as series regulars in NBC comedy series Connecting, from Blindspot creator/exec producer Martin Gero, his frequent collaborator Brendan Gall and Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios.
Written and executive produced by Gero and Gall, Connecting, which has received an eight-episode straight-to-series order, is an ensemble comedy about a group of friends trying to stay close (and sane) through video chats as they share the highs and lows of these extraordinary times.
Nayfack will play Ellis, a pragmatic, type-A and a huge Clippers fan. Powell and Knox, who are married in real-life, will play husband and wife Garrett and Michelle, who are thriving in quarantine. Henry will play Rufus, paranoid and conspiracy minded, he’s more comfortable online than off. Lawson will portray Ben. His girlfriend broke up with him just before the pandemic started and he is debating whether to take her back.
They join previously announced Otmaro Marrero and Parvesh Cheena.
Universal Television, a division of NBCUniversal Content Studios, is the studio.
Knox and Powell both starred on web series Keith Broke His Leg, written and directed by Powell. The series won Best Comedy Series, Best Actor in a Comedy for Powell and Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Knox at the Indie Series Awards. The series is currently being developed for television. Through Knox’s The Young Rebel’s Studio, she has built an acclaimed brand focused on activism and action. Knox most recently teamed with Superstore’s Ben Feldman to raise money for charities benefiting Black lives including Black Lives Matter, Fair Fight, and the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
Connecting is Powell’s first series regular role since his portrayal of Toofer on all seven seasons of NBC’s 30 Rock. Over the past few years, Powell has mostly focused on writing and directing while working on various episodic television including guest appearances on Grace and Frankie and Better Things, as well as the recent 30 Rock reunion for NBC. He is currently writing a feature for Film 44 and HBO Films, and is set to direct his first film, Buffalo, with Vanishing Angle.
Nayfack most recently co-starred and served as a producer, co-writer, and co-lyricist on Amazon’s Transparent musical finale. Nayfack, who played Lola on the Hulu comedy series Difficult People, has a pilot in development with Michael Strahan’s SMAC, and is currently developing a film with Lifetime. Nayfack also is the founding Artistic Director of Musical Theatre Factory where she has supported the development of over 100 new musicals, including an autobiographical rock musical about her gender confirmation, Manifest Pussy.
Henry has had recurring roles on Suburgatory, Twister and Roadies and guest spots on The Middle, Good Luck Charlie, Superstore and most recently on HBO’s Perry Mason. On the film side, Henry has had leading roles in the superhero comedy film Zeroes, indie drama Some Freaks and animated film Smallfoot. He is repped by Innovative Artists, David Dean Management and AMI in Canada.
Lawson is best known for his appearance on season 12 of NBC’s America’s Got Talent where he made it to the final rounds. He was later invited to compete on America’s Got Talent: The Champions as well as Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions in 2019 where he advanced to the finale. Preacher, who has a YouTube following of over 500,000 subscribers, also was the host of the Facebook Watch series World’s Most Amazing Dogs with George Lopez and Lisa Vanderpump. Preacher shot his first stand-up special for BET+ last year, and continues to perform at sold-out venues around the country.
Knox and Powell are repped by Bret Adams Agency and A3 Artists respectively, and both managed by Power Entertainment Group. Nayfack is repped by A3 Artists Agency, 3 Arts Entertainment, and Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Henry is repped by Innovative Artists, David Dean Management and AMI in Canada. Lawson is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and ICM Partners.
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