Comedic giants Will Ferrell and Adam McKay just landed a new deal with Netflix, but they won’t be collaborating on a script this time around. Their new dark comedy will be written by an Emmy Award-winning female comedian.
While many know Ferrell for his sketch comedy work on Saturday Night Live, along with comedic roles in films like Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Step Brothers, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (to name a few), McKay is still relatively unknown, at least as a recognizable pop culture figure. However, comedy fans are well versed in McKay’s aesthetic, as he’s the director behind several of Ferrell’s most popular movies, including the aforementioned titles. In 2015, McKay earned a screenwriting Oscar for his efforts on The Big Short, and he also co-wrote the script for the 2015 Marvel film Ant-Man. In addition, McKay founded the comedy video website Funny or Die in 2007 with Ferrell. The duo also runs Gary Sanchez Productions, which is behind the HBO series Eastbound & Down and the upcoming comedy Holmes and Watson starring Ferrell and John C. Reilly.
Per Deadline, McKay and Ferrell will produce a new dark comedy for Netflix titled Dead to Me. Liz Feldman, who received an Emmy Award for her work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, will write the 10-part series. Previously, she wrote 11 episodes of the CBS comedy series 2 Broke Girls. For Netflix, she'll focus on a “tightly wound widow” and a “free spirit with a shocking secret".Gloria Sanchez Productions will produce the new series with CBS Television Studios.
As many Netflix bingers already know, American Vandal was a surprise hit last year, co-produced by Funny or Die and CBS Television Studios. American Vandal was also CBS Television Studios' first project with Netflix, which set the tone for the upcoming miniseries Unbelievable and a third collaboration, the newly announced Dead to Me. With these series, CBS has expanded their brand to accommodate streaming trends and more challenging subject matter. For their latest venture, they will have a team of accomplished comedic professionals to balance dark material with scripted comedy, a formula that worked wonders for American Vandal (which, on the surface, appeared to be a real documentary).
While many comedians stay loyal to their shtick, Ferrell and McKay continue to challenge themselves creatively. Similarly, Netflix continues to think outside the box, and shows a willingness to diversify with culturally relevant programming. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see who receives the starring role in Dead to Me, and whether Netflix can land another surprise hit.