By Alison Willmore | Indiewire March 7, 2013 at 11:52AM
IFC continues to expand its alt comedy empire with the announcement today that the network's greenlit two new series -- Bob Odenkirk and Ben Stiller's "The Birthday Boys" and Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's "The Spoils of Babylon."
"The Spoils of Babylon" is a scripted comedy produced by Funny or Die and executive produced by Ferrell, McKay, Matt Piedmont, who'll direct, and Andrew Steele, who co-wrote the script with Piedmont.
Consisting of six half-hour episodes, "The Spoils of Babylon" sounds like a "Casa de mi Padre" kind of high concept exercise, which makes sense, as that's a film that Piedmont directed and Steele wrote -- only this time what's being spoofed are sprawling "Thorn Birds"-style miniseries.
"The Spoils of Babylon" is described as "a television adaptation of a best-selling epic novel by fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh (played by Ferrell)" that's a "blowsy century-spanning saga" about "the sexy and dramatic lives of a family who made their fortune in the oil business."
"This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea," said Ferrell in the announcement. "IFC is either really courageous or really stupid which makes them the perfect partner for us."
The show promises to track three generations and go from the Texas oil fields to the New York boardrooms and "the creation of the doomed sub-prime market." The ensemble cast has yet to be announced -- the show will air in late 2013.
"The Birthday Boys" is a sketch show executive produced by Odenkirk and Stiller by way of Red Hour, and is based on the work of the titular Los Angeles comedy troupe. "The Birthday Boys are too good to just be making viral videos. They are funny enough to fill time between episodes of 'Portlandia.' I’m thrilled to be working with Bob Odenkirk again on a TV project. We try to do something every 20 years or so," said Ben Stiller in the announcement, with Odenkirk adding that "The Birthday Boys are a super funny and fresh new comic voice. I will try not to slow them down."
The Birthday Boys are Jefferson Dutton, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell and Chris VanArtsdalen. They'll write and co-direct the series, which will consist of 10 half-hour episodes, with Odenkirk. Here's one of the group's sketches, "Bad Murderer Part I":
The Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein series "Portlandia," which wrapped up its third season on March 1st, has been IFC's major success to date in the comedy realm. The network also recently renewed the Scott Aukerman faux talk show "Comedy Bang! Bang!" for a second season, and has another podcast adaptation, "Maron," slated to premiere this year.