Television

Sky and FX Networks partner to co-fund and co-develop brand new comedy

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MUMBAI: On Thursday, 20 March, Sky and FX Networks announced an agreement to work together to develop brand new post-watershed comedy for audiences on both sides of the Atlantic. The two-year agreement will see Sky and FX Networks co-fund and co-develop new half-hour scripted comedy.

If the projects are commissioned, the shows would be broadcast on Sky1 HD or Sky Atlantic HD in the UK and Ireland and FX Networks channels in the US.

The co-development deal builds on Sky and FX Networks’ expertise in creating distinctive, award-winning comedy and will involve the very best on- and off-screen talent from both Britain and the US. The goal is to create new shows that will sit alongside series such as Sky’s A Touch of Cloth and Alan Partridge’s Mid-Morning Matters and FX Networks’ Louie and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Home-grown Sky shows that have previously been broadcast on US networks include An Idiot Abroad, a Young Doctor’s Notebook, Spy, Moone Boy and Doll & Em

Sky head of comedy Lucy Lumsden, expressed her excitement about working with FX Networks to develop distinctive brand new comedy and further strengthen Sky’s commitment to original home-grown programming.

FX Networks and FX Productions president of original programming Eric Schrier sates in a press release: “We are truly excited to partner with Sky and create comedies that will bridge the Atlantic and entertain audiences in both the UK and US.  This particular partnership will open doors for us to discover new comedy talent and develop their stories in this unique foreign exchange program.”  

The agreement coincides with Sky launching its biggest ever year of entertainment, featuring brand new comedy and drama from stars including Chris O’Dowd, Nick Frost, Olivia Colman, Emily Mortimer and Dominic Cooper and new shows from the makers of Rev and Spooks

Alongside new series launches, Sky has confirmed that Mount Pleasant, Trollied and the award-winning Stella will all be back for its fourth series. The deal also reinforces Sky’s commitment to producing brand new original home-grown content for customers. This year Sky will invest ?600 million in original British production across its channels.

Sky began its drive into comedy in 2009 and was swiftly established as a central player in the UK television comedy landscape. Working some of the best talent in the industry and commissioning across Sky’s portfolio of channels, hit comedies number titles as diverse as Moone Boy, Doll & Em, Hunderby, Alan Partridge: Welcome to The Places of My Life, A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Spy, Psychobitches and the series of short films, Little Crackers. These comedy commissions have earned a raft of award wins at the International Emmys, the BAFTAs, the RTS Awards, British Comedy Awards, the Rose d’Or Festival and others.

Titles set to launch this year include Mr Sloane created by Bob Weide (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and starring Nick Frost which debuts this spring, Charlie Brooker’s A Touch of Cloth will return for a third chapter this summer and Matthew Perry stars in Jon Ronson’s The Dog Thrower.

In 2014, FX Networks will air ten original comedy series across two of its three channels, FX and FXX. FX televises the Emmy, AFI, TCA and Peabody award-winning Louie, which is the most critically-acclaimed comedy on American television, and the acclaimed animated comedies Archer and Chozen. This summer FX will launch two new comedies, Married starring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer, and You’re the Worst starring Aya Cash and Chris Geere.  The FXX comedy roster includes the acclaimed hit series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Wilfred, Legit, and Ali G: Rezurection.

FX Networks has been very active in comedy development and production.  In addition to the recent series orders of Married and You’re the Worst, FX Networks has seven comedy pilots in various stages of production for either FX or FXX.

They include Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll created by and starring Denis Leary; the untitled Zach Galifianakis project created by and starring Galifianakis, and produced by Galifianakis and Louis C.K.; The Comedians, from Larry Charles, Matt Nix, Ben Wexler and Billy Crystal, which stars Billy Crystal and Josh Gad; Do or Die starring Tracy Morgan; How & Why created by Charlie Kaufman and starring Michael Cera and John Hawkes; Man Seeking Woman from Simon Rich; and the animated comedy series Bigfoot from Seth Rogen and produced by Rogen and Adam Reed and Matt Thompson.

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