COMEDY CENTRAL has ordered an initial run of 10 episodes of a new, untitled sitcom starring Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite,” “Blades of Glory”) from Gary Sanchez Productions and Debmar-Mercury, it was announced today by Gary Sanchez Productions, COMEDY CENTRAL and Debmar-Mercury.
Produced by Gary Sanchez Productions, the production company led by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy, distributed by Debmar-Mercury, the untitled, multi-camera sitcom for COMEDY CENTRAL will star Jon Heder as an out of work computer IT specialist who leaves the big city and returns to his small home town, where he moves back in with his parents and younger brother. Ferrell, McKay and Henchy will write and produce the series.
Modeled after previous successful groundbreaking Tyler Perry sitcom ventures from Debmar-Mercury co-presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein, COMEDY CENTRAL has initially ordered 10 episodes of the Heder sitcom and will then have the option to order an additional 90 episodes upon a successful first-season run. Debmar-Mercury would retain the rights to take the series into syndication after its run on COMEDY CENTRAL. Prior to this deal, Debmar-Mercury had partnered with COMEDY CENTRAL in 2003 to distribute the broadcast syndication rights to the Emmy(R) and Peabody(R) Award-winning series “South Park.”
“Combining the creative genius of the Gary Sanchez gang with the brilliant business model established by Mort and Ira at Debmar-Mercury should ensure many, many great laughs in the years to come on COMEDY CENTRAL,” says Michele Ganeless, president, COMEDY CENTRAL. “With a proven track record featuring some of the most memorable comedy films ever made, we are so excited to be in business with Will, Adam, Chris and Jon,” says Lauren Corrao, president, original programming and development, COMEDY CENTRAL.
“We’ve always been fans of Jon’s,” McKay comments. “This deal gives us a chance to take some big creative swings without the risk of testing and focus grouping the show to death.”
“We immediately jumped at the opportunity to be in business with this elite team of A-list comedy talents, who are among a handful of people in Hollywood capable of pulling off a project of this magnitude,” notes Marcus. Adds Bernstein, “As we expand on a proven business model, we could not be more pleased that COMEDY CENTRAL chose this concept to serve as its first full-fledged, live-action original sitcom.”
David Bernath, COMEDY CENTRAL’s senior vice president, programming, negotiated the deal with Debmar-Mercury’s Marcus and Bernstein.
Heder, 31, who came to fame starring as the title character in “Napoleon Dynamite,” studied animation at Brigham Young University in Utah and appeared in student-produced short films, including a comedy, “Peluca.” It was later expanded into the feature-length “Napoleon Dynamite.” Its surprise hit status coming out of the Sundance Film Festival led the film into national distribution and, by the end of 2004, Heder’s portrayal of the hapless Napoleon was widely imitated as the movie went on to gross more than a hundred times what it cost to make. Heder’s acting career took off. He next appeared in the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy “Just Like Heaven” (2005) and landed roles in other comedies, including the animated feature “Monster House” (2006) with Maggie Gyllenhaal and the ice-skating farce “Blades of Glory” (2007) with Ferrell.