HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - In his first stab at primetime
series television, late-night veteran Jon Stewart will write and
executive produce an NBC sitcom starring fellow "Daily Show" writer/actor
Stewart and Colbert will co-write the pilot
script for the project, which will borrow heavily from Colbert's
experiences growing up in South Carolina. The untitled series
is being developed for NBC's fall 2003 schedule.
Stewart said he and Colbert already are flush
"We were just thinking about what would
happen if a gay man and a straight woman lived together in a bar
in Boston and ate spiders for $50,000 every episode," Stewart
told Daily Variety. "We're going to try to do a show that has
everything that's worked on NBC before. Before it's over, Stephen
could end up helming a genial black family. He could be the next
NBC executive VP of development Karey Burke
said the show will be a "modern-day Andy of Mayberry" story, with
elements of both family and office-based comedies.
"The show will really reflect the sensibility
of Jon and Stephen, who are known for adult, sophisticated, intelligent
comedy," Burke said. "It's completely within the NBC brand."
Colbert was attached to an NBC pilot last year,
and while the project didn't move forward, network executives
were anxious to develop another show around the comic. When they
found out Stewart and Colbert were interested in working on a
show together, they didn't waste any time jumping on board.
"There's a history of hit comedies built
on talent that have worked together before," Burke said, citing
as a classic example Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David teaming for
"Seinfeld." "These guys have been collaborators for years, and
now they're just taking their act on the road."
Stewart said the real impetus for the project
was his desire to get Colbert to stop yakking about his past.
"I'm just tired of Stephen telling me
stories about how he grew up," Stewart quipped. "I figured if
we write it all down in script form, he'll stop talking about
Stewart has no plans to give up his gig as
host and executive producer of Comedy Central's Emmy- and Peabody
Award-winning "The Daily Show." His feature credits include "Big
Daddy" and "Death to Smoochy"; he also hosted the 43rd and 44th
annual Grammy Awards.
Colbert, a Second City alum, has spent the
last five years working as a writer and senior correspondent for
"The Daily Show." He also co-created, exec produced and starred
in the cable series "Strangers With Candy" and "Exit 57"; his
book "Wigfield" will be released by Hyperion next spring.