LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Comedy Central is set to unveil an eclectic development slate that tackles sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll and religion.
The network has 22 projects in the pipeline ranging from script deals to pilots, with the usual formats of animated shows, sketch comedy and talk shows represented. Among the more unusual ideas are a live sex-chat talk show, a program based on a Funny or Die Web short, an update of “The Odd Couple” and an animated series about Jesus Christ.
That last item could raise eyebrows coming on the heels of the network’s censorship of “South Park” for its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. The show in development, “JC,” is a half-hour show in which Christ wants to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York.
“In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable,” said Comedy Central head of original programing Kent Alterman, who returned to the network in January after a stint at New Line.
Alterman is inheriting much of the slate and joked that he plans to take credit for shows that work and disavow any flops. “For me, the guiding principle is finding the strongest comedy voices,” he said.
Shows at the pilot stage include “Highdeas,” in which a comedian explores mind-blowing questions that can only be posed by stoners, with concepts including “white chocolate milk” and “hamster-sized rhinos.” With a title that sounds like a companion piece, “This Show Will Get You High” is a sketch comedy show featuring the next wave of performers from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater.
In another sketch show, “Jon Benjamin Has a Van,” the actor-comedian (“Archer”) puts a twist on the investigative newsmagazine. “Live Sex Show” updates Dr. Ruth with hosts Bert Kreischer and Layla Kayleigh taking a comedic look at all things sexual.
Based on a Funny or Die short, “Rich Dicks” stars Nick Kroll and Jon Daly as obnoxiously wealthy party-mongers in Los Angeles. “Steel Panther” is a loosely scripted docu-reality show following the band Steel Panther, which parodies ‘80s hair metal acts.
Finally, stand-up comics Kevin Hart and Bill Burr have a half-hour untitled scripted series that’s billed as a modern-day take on “The Odd Couple.”
Of the network’s projects at the script stage, highlights include “Supermax” (an animated prison series featuring famous inmates), “The Fuzz” (a police procedural that mixes humans and puppets) and “Joe Squad” (a spoof of classic Saturday morning superhero cartoons).
The network also set premiere dates — or, at least, premiere months — for several shows, including the return of “Futurama” (June 24), sketch-comedy show “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time” (October) and “The Onion Sports Network” (January).