IFC’s original programming is quickly becoming A-level:
Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk aren’t just the stars and producers of comedy films and television series that will live in perpetuity on DVD players, DVRs and cable-TV programming lineups. They’re also among the creative talent responsible for two new comedy series that IFC said Thursday it had picked up.
Mr. Stiller and Mr. Odenkirk, who collaborated on the short-lived but influential 1990s-era sketch series “The Ben Stiller Show,” are the executive producers of the new IFC series “The Birthday Boys,” which will feature the comedy troupe of the same name. IFC, which is ordering 10 episodes of “The Birthday Boys,” described the show in a news release as being in “the classic vein of absurd/silly/smart/funny variety shows” like “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” and said that an early episode would address “such issues as eggs, toilet paper and computers.” Mr. Stiller said in a statement that he was looking forward to working with Mr. Odenkirk again, adding, “We try to do something every 20 years or so.”
Mr. Ferrell and Mr. McKay, who have worked together on “Saturday Night Live” and hit films like “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “The Other Guys,” are two of the executive producers on “The Spoils of Babylon,” a new series directed by Matt Piedmont and written by Mr. Piedmont and Andrew Steele. IFC describes the series as “a television adaptation of a best-selling epic novel by fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh” — played by Mr. Ferrell — and offers a “blowsy century-spanning saga” that “chronicles the sexy and dramatic lives of a family who made their fortune in the oil business.” Six episodes have been ordered.
“This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea,” Mr. Ferrell said in a statement. “IFC is either really courageous or really stupid, which makes them the perfect partner for us.”
IFC, which has found success with original comedy series like “Portlandia” as well as reruns of “The Ben Stiller Show” and “Mr. Show With Bob and David,” said that both new shows would have their debuts later this year.