IFC Expands Scripted Comedy Slate, Brings Iconic "The Onion" Brand To Television With Onion News Network

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

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March 23rd, 2010

via press release:

IFC EXPANDS SCRIPTED COMEDY SLATE, BRINGS ICONIC “THE ONION” BRAND TO TELEVISION WITH “ONION NEWS NETWORK”

NETWORK GREENLIGHTS “THE INCREASINGLY POOR DECISIONS OF TODD MARGARET,” REUNITING “ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT’S”

DAVID CROSS & WILL ARNETT

2010-2011 ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING SLATE REFLECTS NETWORK’S NEW “ALWAYS ON. SLIGHTLY OFF.” BRAND AND TAGLINE

NEW YORK, NY – March 23, 2010 – IFC announced today a fresh and eclectic programming slate as well as a new look and brand direction, embodied by the tagline, “Always On. Slightly Off.”  Unveiling this month, the new brand is an evolution of IFC’s original programming strategy, and reflects the attitude of its influential 70% male audience (Source:  MRI Spring 2009).

Against the backdrop of this new brand, IFC is evolving its programming mandate from a focus on indie film to being a home for original and acquired content that bears an “Always On. Slightly Off.” sensibility.  Continuing its commitment to original programming, the network has greenlit a new slate with an emphasis on scripted comedy, a genre already thriving on the network through series like “Food Party,” “The Whitest Kids U’ Know,” “Arrested Development,” and “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

The highlight of IFC’s new slate is a pair of scripted comedy series:  “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,” starring David Cross and Will Arnett in their first project together since “Arrested Development,” set to air in fall 2010; and “Onion News Network,”the first television series based on the popular alternative weekly fake newspaper and web series, slated to air in first quarter 2011.

In addition, IFC has acquired “Kids in the Hall:  Death Comes to Town,” a “Kids in the Hall” reunion series debuting in August, and “Dead Set,” a satirical zombie horror series that takes place on the set of the U.K.’s “Big Brother” house, premiering in October 2010.

“Our re-brand and new slate were driven by IFC evolving from being first and foremost about indie film to showcasing programming that’s ‘always on’ the mark, but with a ‘slightly off’ indie perspective,” said Jennifer Caserta, Executive Vice President & General Manager of IFC.  “It’s a perspective and attitude we share with our audience, who crave the kinds of unconventional stories, characters, talent, execution and, above all, authenticity, we provide.”

Added Caserta:  “Already our original scripted comedies are pulling in a loyal fan base and we’re thrilled to expand our commitment to the genre by working with such comedic geniuses as David Cross, Will Arnett and the masterminds behind ‘The Onion.’

“We’re also continuing our successful strategy of executing traditional formats in unexpected ways, with series like ‘Food Party,’ and we remain committed to rescuing TV that’s just outside the mainstream, with the return of ‘Kids in the Hall.’  It’s all part of our new ‘sharp-cool-twisted’ content filter, which allows us to develop and recommend great shows that our viewers can connect with and pass on to their friends.”

In addition to being super-influential, IFC viewers are a highly educated, upscale and elusive group to reach.  They fall into two segments which the network calls “Authentic Influencers” and “Responsible Rebels.”  “Authentic Influencers,” aged 18-34, make up the younger end of the 18-49 spectrum, and are passionate about being creative and uncovering what’s new.  They are “early adopters” and share their discoveries with their like-minded friends. “Responsible Rebels,” aged 34-49, are the “Authentic Influencers” who have gained responsibilities but haven’t lost any of their passions.  They are also all about living a creative lifestyle, and when they find something they connect with, they share it with the world, usually through social media, blogs and word of mouth. Both the “Authentic Influencers” and “Responsible Rebels” view IFC as a peer that connects them to authentic, original content.

The following is IFC’s line-up of original series in production, acquired series and projects currently in development:

Original Series in Production

“The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret,” 6x30

Created by, written by, and starring David Cross (“Arrested Development,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks”), “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” follows the misadventures of Todd Margaret (Cross), a corporate nobody and pathological liar who unexpectedly finds himself running his company’s London office. Assigned by his blowhard boss (Arnett) to launch a new (and terrible) energy drink, Todd Margaret is quickly in over his head, knowing nothing about British culture… or sales.

Special guest appearances by Spike Jonze (“Where the Wild Things Are”) and Amber Tamblyn (“The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants”) add yet another layer to the comedic misfortunes.

“The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” is a co-production between IFC and RDF Television, part of the RDF Media Group, co-written by Shaun Pye ("Extras") and executive produced by RDF TV’s Head of Comedy, Clelia Mountford.  Executive producers for IFC are Debbie DeMontreux, Jennifer Caserta, Evan Shapiro, Dan Pasternack and Christian Vesper.   The series will premiere on IFC in fourth quarter 2010.

“Onion News Network,” 10x30

The best fake news network in the world brings a scripted comedy series to television for the first time on IFC.  Inspired by the weekly newspaper and based on the web series of the same name, “Onion News Network” on IFC will be a weekly report of nonsensical news, hilarious headlines and over-the-top debates between the show’s news anchors and guests.

“Onion News Network” is executive produced by Julie Smith and Will Graham and produced by Area Man Productions LLC.  Executive producers for IFC are Jennifer Caserta, Evan Shapiro, Debbie DeMontreux and Christine Lubrano. The series will make its debut on IFC in first quarter 2011.

Acquired Series

“The Kids in the Hall:  Death Comes to Town,” 8x30

Famous for their sketch comedy, all five original Kids – Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson – reunite in this eight episode comical murder-mystery series in an all-new narrative format.  The Kids play nearly all of the 20 new characters, including men, women and a Grim Reaper called “Death.”

When the mayor of Shuckton, Ontario is found murdered everyone in the town is a suspect.  When an arrest is made and the trial plays out, the entire town is affected and its dark secrets are unraveled and exposed.

“The Kids in the Hall:  Death Comes to Town” will make its U.S. debut on IFC in August 2010.  The series was conceived by Bruce McCulloch who also executive produces.  It was co-written by all five Kids and is produced by Susan Cavan of Accent Entertainment.

“Dead Set,” 1x45, 4x30

During eviction night on the U.K. “Big Brother” series, zombies emerge and begin attacking humans.  Meanwhile, the remaining housemates are clueless as to what’s happening outside their four walls, and are unknowingly kept safe from the chaos that’s erupted on the streets as zombies make their way into the television studio only feet away.  Few people are able to escape from The Walking Dead as they prey on helpless victims, including one of the show’s crew members, Kelly.  When she makes her way into the house to alert the cast, they work together to concoct an escape plan.  Will they make it to safety without being “bitten”?

“Dead Set” will make its U.S. debut on IFC over five nights, October 25-29, at midnight (12 am et/pt).  “Dead Set” is produced by Endemol Entertainment with Zeppotron, directed by Yann Demange and written and created by Charlie Brooker.

Original Series in Development

“I Love the A.D.’s” (wt)

An irreverent animated series that takes place during biblical times, with the added Creationist bonus of dinosaurs.  The show takes place during the “lost years “ of Jesus’ early 20s while he’s still figuring out what he wants to do with his life.  Contemporary characters live out alternative takes on familiar biblical scenarios.

“I Love the A.D.’s” is being developed by Ed Productions (Crossroads Television) with executive producer Dan Lindau, animator JJ Sedelmaier and writers Kip Madsen and Geoff Bunch.

“Variety Shac”

A clever comedy series that revolves around the four members of “Variety Shac,” an all female sketch comedy troupe who are out to prove that sketch comedy isn’t just a man’s world.  Stories and anecdotes become outrageous sketches about the ridiculous lives and hapless happenings of the group.

“Variety Shac” is being developed by executive producer Brian Stern and is created by, written by and starring:  Shonali Bhoumik, Heather Lawless, Chelsea Peretti and Andrea Rosen who comprise the troupe.

“Dieter Horn in Night Port”

A German criminal is charged with fighting crime in Port City or faces a lifetime in jail.  Haunted by his dark past, he becomes a vigilante for justice.  Armed with great hair, a classic Porsche and withering one-liners, he takes on the scum of Port City with his bare hands.  The series spoofs the high stakes 1980s TV action/comedy classics like Miami Vice, Magnum PI and Knight Rider.

“Dieter Horn in Night Port” is being developed by Just For Laughs Muse Comedy with executive producers Jesse Prupas and Evi Regev.

“Jobbed”

Set in New York City, this scripted workplace comedy takes place at the East Village branch of the Manhattan Department of Labor’s Unemployment Office as a downsized dotcommer becomes an unlikely civil servant.

“Jobbed” is being developed by writer Steve Elliott.

“There Might Be Cake”

Comedian Greg Behrendt, author of He’s Just Not That Into You, hosts a weekly chat with famous comedians about their careers and how they’ve achieved success.  The guest comedian then chooses several of his favorite emerging comics whose performances are highlighted throughout each episode.  The series is shot at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, Calif.

“There Might Be Cake” is being developed by Avalon Television with executive producers Dan Lubetkin and David Martin.

“Young, Broke & Beautiful”

IFC takes on the travel genre through the eyes of host/travel book author Broke-Ass Stuart, who gets under the skin of “the city you didn’t know you lived in,” taking viewers on underground cultural adventures in cities across America.  Proving that the best things in life don’t cost a ton of money, Broke-Ass Stuart unearths cool and fascinating subcultures and experiences that make these host cities excellent places for the young, broke and beautiful to have fulfilling, low-rent vacations or lives.

“Young, Broke & Beautiful” is being developed by 44 Pictures; Sam Erickson executive produces.

About IFC

IFC creates and champions authentic, original content presented with an indie perspective that is “Always On. Slightly Off.”  From acquired series like Arrested Development, to quintessential films like Office Space, and original productions such as Food Party and Dinner With The Band, IFC recommends and delivers traditional content in a non-traditional way.  IFC’s original programming airs alongside a comprehensive independent film library of award-winning titles and cult classics, as well as content inspired by music, web, gaming, animation, news, culture and more.  IFC broadens its passionate and influential audience with exclusive live coverage of festivals and music events like the Film Independent Spirit Awards and South by Southwest.  IFC.com features exclusive video, interviews, news, reviews and more.  The network’s On Demand offering, IFC Free, gives audiences the opportunity to watch IFC’s original series at their convenience.  IFC is a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC.

About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC

Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE: CVC).  Rainbow Media owns and operates some of the world’s most popular and award-winning entertainment brands, including AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WE tv, Wedding Central and IFC Entertainment (IFC Center, IFC Festival Direct, IFC Films, IFC In Theaters and IFC Productions).  Additional information about Rainbow Media’s multiplatform brands is available atwww.rainbow-media.com.

 
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