Starz is piling on the offbeat humor, packaging the returning comedy series “Party Down” and the new dramatic comedy “Gravity” to run Fridays at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. (et/pt), respectively, starting on Friday, April 23, only on Starz. These two comedies fit in with Starz’ commitment to program series unlike anything on TV.Actress Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace,” Fame) joins the “Party Down” cast this season as Lydia Dunfree, a middle-aged refugee from a lousy marriage who moves to Hollywood in hopes that her 13 year-old daughter will make it big. She joins a talented ensemble of actors lead by Adam Scott (Indie Spirit Award nominee: Best Actor for The Vicious Kind), Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Martin Starr and Ryan Hansen.
Rob Thomas (“Veronica Mars,” “Cupid”) along with John Enbom, Paul Rudd and Dan Etheridge are executive producers and Adam Scott (Henry Pollard) is a producer on the show. Bryan Gordon (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) and Fred Savage (“The Wonder Years”) return as series directors and supervising producers. Also directing episodes this year are David Wain (Role Models) and Ken Marino, who directs the season finale, featuring the wedding of first season regular Jane Lynch. Starz Media, the production and distribution sibling of the Starz premium entertainment channels is also producer of the critically lauded series, which was recently named one of the 10 best TV shows of 2009 by the AFI.
“Party Down” shares the 10 p.m. hour with “Gravity,” which follows the sometimes comic, sometimes tragic exploits of a group from an eccentric out-patient program of suicide survivors. Krysten Ritter (“Breaking Bad,” Confessions of a Shopaholic), stars as Lily Champagne, a twenty-something who just can’t connect to anyone until she actually dies. She stars with Ivan Sergei (“Charmed,” The Break-Up), who plays Robert Collingsworth, who is despondent following the death of his wife, and who becomes an internet celebrity when his suicide attempt goes comically awry. He stars with Eric Schaeffer, the series’ co-creator and one of its executive producers, who plays Miller, an enigmatic cop with mysterious intentions.
Also in the cast are Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible) as Dogg McFee, the group’s leader and a former Major League Baseball player, now confined to a wheelchair; and supermodel Rachel Hunter as Shawna Rollins, a former spokesmodel and current life coach who is surprised to find herself attracted to someone much younger than herself. Robyn Cohen (The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, “Starved”), James Martinez (Brother to Brother) and Seth Numrich (How to Kill a Mockingbird) round out the main cast.
Schaeffer, an actor/director/writer/producer, is partnered with series co-creator Jill Franklyn (My First Mister), who was nominated for an Emmy Award for co-writing the “Yada, Yada” episode of “Seinfeld,” and has written on numerous series. Dan Pasternack (“Starved,” “Beggars and Choosers”) will be executive producer along with Schaeffer and Franklyn. Daniel Hank (“Starved”) is producer on the series.