Fox, the current king of cartoons for grown-ups, is looking to extend its reign. The network has ordered presentations for two separate animated shows from stand-up comedians Demetri Martin and Adam Carolla.
Carolla’s project, The Birchums, will follow a character that the comedian developed for radio in the 1990s. Carolla himself would voice “Mister Birchum,” a frustrated, over-the-hill woodshop teacher who is continually baffled by an effeminate world. One can only assume that a lot of the ideas presented in Carolla’s book In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks, And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy will be featured.
The show is being produced by John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, who previously worked on Mike Judge’s 13-year blue-collar opus King of the Hill. Also in on the production are teams from 3Arts (a frequent Parks and Recreation contributor) and Jackhole Productions, founded by Carolla and frequent collaborator Jimmy Kimmel.
Demetri Martin’s project hasn’t been given an official title just yet, but the stand-up comedian will be featured in the voice cast and at the writer’s table. The project is being pitched as “a family workplace comedy set in the California Redwoods.” Martin will serve as an executive producer alongside Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope, who both worked on A&E’s Breakout Kings.
Both shows have been ordered as a production presentation, a reel of footage that’s shorter than a pilot but still gives a good idea of the “feel” of a new series. With Carolla and Martin as the only attached talent announced so far, it could be quite a while before we hear any more about either project.
Neither man is a stranger to the animated comedy genre. Carolla starred in Comedy Central’s Drawn Together for three seasons and frequently guest-stars on Family Guy as Death. More significantly, he played “Dick Birchum” on puppet show Crank Yankers, who’s essentially the same character from the radio show mentioned above. Martin frequently uses hand-drawn cartoons in his stand-up routine and featured animated segments on his now-cancelled Comedy Central show Important Things with Demetri Martin.
Almost 25 years after The Simpsons redefined what cartoons could do, Fox continues to dominate the prime-time animation scene. Its current Sunday night lineup features no less than five animated comedies, with three from Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane has also been contracted for a Fox revival of The Flintstones, and the network will air Jonah Hill’s Allen Gregory this fall.
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