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Breaking: Showtime and BBC Pact on Matt LeBlanc Comedy Series "Episodes"

Penance for Joey perhaps?

Showtime and BBC Two have joined together to co-produce new comedy series Episodes, set to star Matt LeBlanc (Friends).

The single-camera comedy series, which received a six-episode commitment from Showtime and BBC Two, revolves around a British couple whose smash-hit British skein is adapted into a "dumbed-down" US sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc (who will play himself).

Project, which is slated to air next year on Showtime, is created by David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (The Class) and will be executive produced by Crane, Klarik, and Hat Trick's Jimmy Mulville. Production is slated to begin this autumn in London and Los Angeles.

"What a thrill to have two giants of the comedy world like Klarik and Crane to satirize what they know best: the making (or un-making) of art," said Showtime president of entertainment Bob Greenblatt in a statement. "We jumped at the chance to get involved with this cock-eyed look at network television told through the eyes of unsuspecting British producers who don't know what hit them when they enter the lion's den of Hollywood. And Matt LeBlanc -- wryly sending up his own image -- is icing on the cake. This show complements our eclectic and critically-acclaimed line-up of half-hour comedies beautifully."

The full press release from Showtime, announcing the series order, can be found below.

MATT LEBLANC MAKES FRIENDS OF SHOWTIME & BBC IN SITCOM SATIRE

Six "Episodes" of Comedy-Within-a-Comedy to Premiere in 2010


LOS ANGELES, CA – (September 30, 2009) – "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc and creators David Crane ("Friends," "The Class") and Jeffrey Klarik ("The Class," "Mad About You") have teamed up on a fresh new send-up of the television business entitled EPISODES, a single-camera comedy series about a British couple whose hit UK show is turned into a dumbed-down American sit-com starring LeBlanc (as himself), it was announced today by SHOWTIME President of Entertainment Robert Greenblatt.

Crane and Klarik created the series and Jimmy Mulville will also serve as executive producer through his successful Hat Trick production company ("Whose Line Is It Anyway?," "The Kumars at No. 42", "Worst Week"). EPISODES, a co-production of Showtime and the BBC, will begin shooting the six episodes in London and Hollywood this winter for a 2010 debut on SHOWTIME and BBC Two.

"What a thrill to have two giants of the comedy world like Klarik and Crane to satirize what they know best: the making (or un-making) of art," says Greenblatt. "We jumped at the chance to get involved with this cock-eyed look at network television told through the eyes of unsuspecting British producers who don't know what hit them when they enter the lion's den of Hollywood. And Matt LeBlanc -- wryly sending up his own image -- is icing on the cake. This show complements our eclectic and critically-acclaimed line-up of half-hour comedies beautifully."

"Jeffrey and David have a great idea -- I love it," said Matt LeBlanc. "I am really excited to be working with Showtime and the BBC. And I am so glad I got the part, seeing someone else play Matt LeBlanc would have been devastating."

When a successful British husband-and-wife comedy team are lured by Hollywood to produce a new version of their hit series for a stateside audience, they're initially thrilled at the prospects. But they soon realize what the American execs have in store for their precious show – including replacing the erudite British lead with the quintessential comedy star, Matt LeBlanc – and begin to sink deeper into the quicksand that is the TV business. Before long it's clear that not just the couple's show is at stake, but perhaps even their marriage.

Television veterans Klarik and Crane will draw upon their storied experiences in the network wars and behind-the-scenes "too many cooks" tinkering to bring to life a vivid collection of characters trying to hold onto their sanity in an insane world. Klarik and Crane said: "To work with either Showtime or the BBC on this project would have been terrific. To have both involved is more than we could hope for. We feel like we have found the two perfect homes for this show."

"It is very exciting to be making this wonderful production for Showtime and the BBC," added producer Mulville. "Both networks have an outstanding portfolio of exciting and innovative comedies, and it is an honor to be included amongst them. The scripts are brilliantly funny, and with Matt LeBlanc playing a hilarious version of himself, EPISODES promises to be one of the treats of 2010."

Comments

J.P. said…
Ha! I think this will be hard to do but, if they do it right, it should be hilarious.
ticknart said…
The premise made me snicker and knowing it's on Showtime give me hope.
jojoko said…
so it's like the second series of extras? i don't know, it definitely has a good premise, if not enitrely original. i'll watch.

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