With Conan O’Brien taking his late night comedy to TBS, now is the time for another cable network to make their own attempt at joining the nighttime circuit. FX is the first to take the plunge as the network has just announced a new deal with Russell Brand for six half-hour episodes of a new, currently untitled, unscripted late night series that will feature the comedians British sensibilities and take on current events, politics, pop culture and more, all in front of a live studio audience. Brand says, “I am so excited I’m on the point of climax, in fact I will put the “O” into FX, which spells FOX, which is actually the channel’s real name,” said Brand. “That’s the only thing that worries me about all this to be honest. At least I’ll be able to have a Christmas drink with Bill O’Reilly.”
Before making it big on films here in the United States, Brand was already an established stand-up comedian, so this kind thing really is his forte. As someone who enjoys not only British humor, but Brand’s off-the-cuff, fast-paced comedy style, I’m interested to see if cable can become the new hip place for late night talk shows as the staples like Jay Leno and David Letterman get up there in age. Brand will also likely have competition from either Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert depending on the time slot of the spring 2012 series. Hit the jump for the full press release.
Here’s the press release:
LOS ANGELES, December 15, 2011 – FX has closed a deal with acclaimed actor/comedian Russell Brand for six half-hour installments of an unscripted late night series (untitled), which will debut in the spring of 2012, announced Nick Grad, Executive Vice President, Original Programming, FX.
These will feature Brand’s unvarnished, unfiltered take on current events, politics and pop culture. The six installments will be shot in front of a live audience and the format will draw heavily on interaction with that audience.
“We’re very excited to add Russell Brand’s bracingly funny, original, and honest voice to the FX comedy line-up,” said Grad. “We look forward to supporting Russell and his partner Troy Miller’s ambition to strip down the hosted comedy format to its most fundamental elements and to create something daring and unfiltered for the FX audience.”
The series is produced by FX Productions in association with Branded Films and Dakota Films. This marks the first television deal for Branded Films. Executive Producers are Russell Brand, Troy Miller, and Nik Linnen. Miller also serves as Director of the series.
“I am so excited I’m on the point of climax, in fact I will put the “O” into FX, which spells FOX, which is actually the channel’s real name,” said Brand. “That’s the only thing that worries me about all this to be honest. At least I’ll be able to have a Christmas drink with Bill O’Reilly.”
Brand began his career as a stand-up comedian and that remains his foremost method of entertaining audiences today. He rose to fame in the UK and launched his first nationwide tour, Shame, in 2006; the show was released on DVD as Russell Brand: Live. Brand then launched his second nationwide tour in 2007, Russell Brand: Only Joking; released on DVD as Russell Brand: Doin’ Life. He brought his stand-up comedy tour to the United States in 2009 with his tour, Russell Brand: Scandalous, which was his first worldwide comedy tour that was regarded as a huge success.
On the big screen, Brand is best known for his role as rocker ‘Aldous Snow’ in the Judd Apatow produced Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, Russell Brand can soon be seen in the upcoming musical Rock of Ages. His other film credits include the Disney hit, Bedtime Stories, Warner Bros. Arthur (which marked Brand’s first role as a producer) and The Tempest. He has also lent his voice to animated films such as Hop and Despicable Me.
Also an acclaimed author, Brand has written two books, My Booky Wook: A Memoir of Sex, Drugs and Stand-Up, which was on The New York Times best-seller list for five weeks in a row, and the follow up, Booky Wook 2: This Time It’s Personal.
Troy Miller, an 11-time Emmy award nominee and two-time winner (best directing), has directed and produced a myriad of television shows including Flight of the Conchords, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Bored to Death, Raising Hope, Happy Endings, Up All Night and Tenacious D, among many others. Miller is one of the creators of the short-form film genre that has become the standard opening in major award shows. Having produced and directed all of the now-infamous short films which open the Oscar telecast (7) as well as the MTV Movie Awards (12).
Miller also directed the feature films Run Ronnie Run!, which opened the Sundance Film Festival in 2002, Jack Frost, starring Michael Keaton, and The Announcement, an independent feature made in the UK and distributed by the BBC1 which starred Mark Addy among others. His production company, Dakota Pictures, is a well-respected full production service entity for domestic and international TV and Film entertainment endeavors.
The order for the Brand series solidifies FX’s standing as a comedy leader in cable television. In 2012, the FX schedule will feature eight comedy series: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Archer, Louie, Wilfred, Unsupervised (premieres 1/19/12), the untitled Russell Brand series, and Anger Management (premieres summer 2012).
2011 marked a banner year for FX comedy series. Every returning show posted ratings gains versus prior season. Now in its seventh season, Sunny is enjoying its best ratings ever and remains the highest-rated comedy in FX history. Wilfred, which debuted in June, was the number-one comedy premiere ever for FX and is the highest-rated first season comedy in FX history. Louie, starring Louis C.K., was named TIME magazine’s best show of 2011, and received AFI honors as one of the Ten Most Outstanding Programs of 2011, as well as Television Critics Association Broadcast Television Journalists Association award nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. Louis C.K. received Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (an FX first) and also Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon received a WGA Award nomination in the Comedy Series category.
FX Productions co-produces the award winning hit drama series Sons of Anarchy, and critically acclaimed hit drama series Justified. FXP produces the critically acclaimed hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Louie, Archer, Wilfred, and Unsupervised.
FX is the flagship general entertainment basic cable network from Fox. Launched in June of 1994, FX is carried in more than 98 million homes. The diverse schedule includes a growing roster of critically acclaimed and award-winning original series, an established film library of acquired box-office hit movies, an impressive lineup of acquired hit series, and sports. For more information, go to www.FXnetworks.com.