Ever since Marc Maron’s television pilot was screened at the New York Television Festival in September, a great many of you have been wondering what the status of the project is. And it’s understandable. Many pilots are created each year, and barely any of them get picked up by a network. And even if they are picked up to pilot, most will not make it to the network’s lineup.
We already know that FX, the network that brings us excellent fringe comedy programming like Louie, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, The League, Wilfred and Archer, has passed on Maron. He told me that much during my September interview with him. (listen here). But we’re hearing from insiders that there’s an excellent chance the comedian’s autobiographical, single-camera sitcom will land at one of two other cable networks, who are currently in deep discussions with Fox Television Studios about them acquiring the pilot to series. And there’s a good chance the pilot will be re-shot for a new presentation.
It seems the frontrunner just might be IFC, who boasts the motto Always On. Slightly Off. And in my humble opinion, it sounds like a good fit for Maron. The network currently airs David Cross’ off-kilter workplace comedy The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, Fred Armisen’s bizarre sketch show Portlandia and The Onion’s parody news show The Onion News Network.
The other network is still a bit of a mystery, though Comedy Central – who earlier this year released Maron’s fourth album – seems an obvious option. Or is it TBS, the “Very Funny” network? Over the last few years, this network has embraced the shit out of comedy, giving Conan O’Brien a well-deserved home, co-sponsoring comedy festivals nationwide with Just For Laughs and acquiring the rights to re-air some of the biggest contemporary comedy shows like The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy and Seinfeld.
But after watching Maron’s pilot (which I did) I feel like TBS is a bit “soft” for the type of harsh-reality, raw humor feel Maron dishes out in his show. Wherever it lands (if it lands), so long as Maron maintains the majority of the control over the script, you can expect a groundbreaking comedy series.
The original pilot centers around Maron, a guy who records a podcast from his garage dealing with that reality while trying to navigate his tense relationship with his much-younger girlfriend. If you know Maron or his hugely successful podcast WTF, you’ll recognize all of these concepts. In the pilot Ed Asner plays Maron’s vitamin-pushing, bi-polar father. Community star Ken Jeong plays himself as a guest on the podcast. UCB LA’s Angela Trimbur, and New York comic Sean Patton also make appearances. The episode was directed by Academy Award-winning Luke Matheny.