COMEDY CENTRAL(R) Orders Groundbreaking New Series Starring Jon Heder From Gary Sanchez Productions and Debmar-Mercury
Untitled Multi-Camera Sitcom From Writer-Producers Will Ferrell, Adam McKay And Chris Henchy Receives Initial 10-Episode Order And Will Premiere In 2010
NEW YORK, July 9 -- 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.
About Gary Sanchez Productions
Gary Sanchez Productions, a Paramount Pictures-based film production company formed by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay and Chris Henchy, produces the critically acclaimed HBO comedy series "East Bound & Down," returning next spring for a second season on HBO; the mercenary car salesman comedy "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard," directed by Neal Brennan, starring Jeremy Piven and Ving Rhames, which is set for release in August; the cult classic "The Foot Fist Way," starring Danny McBride; and will next co-produce with Mosaic an Adam McKay-directed action comedy for Sony Pictures starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. In July 2007, Gary Sanchez Productions, in association with Sequoia Capital and DAG Ventures, launched the video site Funnyordie.com. In June 2008, Funnyordie.com joined forces with HBO, which, as part of the deal, commissioned 10 half-hours of programming. In January 2009, Gary Sanchez Productions produced Will Ferrell's Broadway debut, the live production "You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W. Bush." Gary Sanchez Productions is represented by Mosaic and CAA.
Debmar-Mercury, a worldwide media company specializing in syndication, network, cable and ancillary markets, distributes "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and spinoff "Meet the Browns"; produces and distributes "The Wendy Williams Show," debuting in July 2009; "Trivial Pursuit: America Plays," in association with Hasbro, Inc.; distributes strips "Family Feud," "South Park" and "True Hollywood Story," as well as weeklies "American Chopper," "Deadliest Catch" and "The Dead Zone"; and a movie library featuring titles from Revolution Studios and Lionsgate. In September 2007, Debmar-Mercury established a London-based international television distribution unit focused on acquiring international formats for U.S. and worldwide distribution, as well as licensing U.S. television formats to the global market. Debmar-Mercury is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading next generation studio.