HBO just can’t get enough of Stephen Merchant. The network already airs two of the British comic’s projects - The Ricky Gervais Show and Life’s Too Short - and now it appears that they’re anxious to add a third series to the list.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the premium cabler has ordered a pilot for Hello Ladies, about an English man determined to find love in the world of beautiful people known as Los Angeles. Merchant will star, executive-produce and write the series. Presumably, it will draw inspiration from his 2011 stand-up act, the live DVD release of which is titled Stephen Merchant: Hello Ladies… Live!
Best known for co-creating the British version of The Office, Merchant has collaborated with Ricky Gervais on a number of projects, including The Office, Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show, Life’s Too Short (starring actor Warwick Davis) and travel series An Idiot Abroad. He has also appeared on all of these series and in films like Hot Fuzz, Tooth Fairy and Hall Pass.
However, despite his wealth of film and television experience, Hello Ladies marks the first project in which Merchant will take center stage. The pilot - co-written by Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky of the U.S. version of The Office - could prove a terrific launching pad for Merchant to stateside stardom, especially if the wit is as infectious and sly as some of his previous series.
It’s unknown at this point if Merchant will be going the route of something like Curb Your Enthusiasm (which recently got some Emmy recognition) and play a fictionalized version of himself or an entirely new character. Either way, this series is comparable to Larry David’s HBO series, in that he was the sole driving force of the series without the aid of Jerry Seinfeld.
Whether or not Merchant can effectively carry the show without the aid of his long-time collaborator Gervais remains to be seen, but given HBO’s track record with its original series, Hello Ladies certainly has a good shot at finding an audience.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter