It looks like Kal Penn is following up his brief time as a member of President Obama's cabinet to create some internationally-minded television. The Harold & Kumar star is preparing a workplace comedy for NBC set at the United Nations.
The as-yet-unnamed project will feature Penn as an assistant to a United States ambassador, though it isn't known which country the person will be assigned to. Stage actor Raphael Bob-Waksberg, whose only TV writing credit so far is a single episode of Adult Swim's Childrens Hospital, will pen the pilot.
The entertainment and political worlds saw a strange crossover two years ago when the Obama administration announced the appointment of Penn to the office of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement. The full-time position had Penn acting as a good-will liaison for the president, and necessitated a gruesome exit for his character on House. Penn left his position last summer to film A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, then returned. He left the Office of Public Engagement again in July. Rumors persist that Penn will return to the White House yet again when the president ramps up his 2012 election campaign.
Penn has been a rising comedy star since the Harold & Kumar and Van Wilder movies, getting a full season on House, an arc on 24 and an upcoming recurring role on How I Met Your Mother with frequent collaborator Neil Patrick Harris.
The United Nations project will likely combine the 34-year-old's experience with the entertainment industry and politics. Speaking to the more public-minded nature of Penn's previous position, exuctive producer Scot Armstrong said, “Maybe this is a better way for him to serve the people — being on NBC and making people laugh.”
Penn notes that the new series will feature the single-camera format popular with NBC's current workplace comedies The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Community. Considering that the former is tottering after the loss of Steve Carell, NBC may be looking for a possible replacement with a well-known star; Penn would seem to fit the bill.
The unnamed U.N. project is in the development stage at NBC.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider
Source: Deadline Hollywood
Photo credit: Associated Press.
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