There’s a happy ending to the recent news that long-running “SNL” regulars Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah had been dropped from the cast of the sketch comedy show. Both performers, it was announced today, have been cast as the leads in Showtime comedy pilots.
Killam will star in the “comedy anthology” “Mating,” executive produced by Jason Katims and written and executive produced by Stu Zicherman. Per the Showtime release, the project will be “an annual anthology,” with Killam playing “a recently divorced guy who married young and now finds himself completely unprepared for the brave new, frank and fluid world of dating and hooking up.”
This is not a longtime gig, though, as future seasons of “Mating” will focus on a different protagonist. What sounds more ongoing, though, is “White Famous,” executive produced by Jamie Foxx (who will guest star in the pilot) and “Californication’s” Tom Kapinos. Tim Story will direct the pilot.
The official synopsis for “White Famous,” again via Showtime: “The project will focus on a talented, young African-American comedian, Floyd Mooney (Pharoah), whose star is rising, forcing him to navigate the treacherous waters of maintaining his credibility as he begins to cross-over towards becoming ‘white famous.'”
When asked if “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels was involved at all in Pharaoh and Killam finding these new roles, Showtime’s David Nevins said that the conversations regarding both projects happened “with the actors individually.”
“We were prepared to work around their ‘SNL’ schedules, knowing they were going into their final years,” he added. “Our schedule got easier when they got released from the show.”
After the panel, Nevins added that he couldn’t speak to whether or not it was a coincidence that both actors were released from their contracts this week. The fact that the producers of both shows went after “SNL” performers, though, was unexpected.