As its big sister net AMC celebrates its successes, comedy cabler IFC is headed into its 2013 upfront—the first without Evan Shapiro, who now works with Participant Media on its new documentary-driven cable channel—with an all-scripted slate. The network has seen success with its offbeat fake variety show Comedy Bang Bang! (officially slated to return for a second season) and Portlandia and is looking to expand along similar lines.
Officially green-lit: two comedies, each created by established teams of comedians. First up is sketch comedy troupe the Birthday Boys in their eponymous show, exec produced by Bob Odenkirk (of Mr. Show fame) and Ben Stiller, which will run for 10 half-hour episodes in its first season. There's also The Spoils of Babylon, exec produced by Will Ferrell and his frequent director Adam McKay (Old School, Talladega Nights), which will star Ferrell as the author of a multigenerational novel about a family of oil barons. Much of the series (six half-hour episodes) will adapt the events of the imaginary novel.
The network's development slate is 11 shows strong, including three scripted pilots: Garfunkel and Oates, about a female folk-singing comedy duo; International Plan, about newly single guys traveling around the world looking for love; and a stop-motion riff on 80's primetime soaps like Dynasty called Timms Industrial Piping.
The eight scripts already ordered are a comedy grab-bag that would give even Carrot Top pause: pitches include one winner of the New York Television Festival's Out of the Box prize (Wasps, about a formerly rich family that discovers they have to live together to save money), as well as a series from Broadway mainstay and Will & Grace alum Megan Mullally, an odd-couple comedy about hit men based on a graphic novel called Trigger Men, and a show about a washed-up cartoonist who befriends a vampire from the future. Its title? Jetpackula.
IFC's upfront party will be held tomorrow night.