‘Avenue 5’: Armando Iannucci Space Comedy Starring Hugh Laurie Is on Its Way to HBO

The network ordered to series the latest TV venture from the creator of "Veep" and "The Thick of It."
Armando Iannucci
Armando Iannucci

With satire dying an excruciating death on earth, Armando Iannucci is officially heading to space. Variety is reporting that HBO has given a series order to “Avenue 5,” a comedy set decades in the future in a world where interplanetary travel is a successful, viable industry.

Comedy vet Hugh Laurie, who’s also appeared on the Iannucci-created “Veep,” will star in this new series as the head of a spacebound cruise ship. He’ll lead an ensemble cast that also includes Zach Woods, Josh Gad, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Rebecca Front, Lenora Crichlow, Suzy Nakamura, and Ethan Phillips. (Front previously starred in the third and fourth seasons of “The Thick of It” as MP Nicola Murray.)

Before directing last year’s critically acclaimed historical comedy “The Death of Stalin,” Iannucci served as a writer on a number of Alan Partridge series and as the creator of both “Veep” and “The Thick of It.” The latter formed the basis for 2009’s “In the Loop,” Iannucci’s first film as a director. In the process, he and co-writers Jesse Armstrong (who went on to create fellow HBO series “Succession”), Simon Blackwell, and Tony Roche nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay.

Iannucci also directed the pilot of “Avenue 5,” though no announcement has yet been made on the number of episodes in this season or the target premiere date.

“Avenue 5” is part of a coming wave of space-set comedies due to come to screens in the coming months and years. Greg Daniels and Steve Carell are getting some of the creative team behind “The Office” back together for a “Space Force” series. As part of the rapidly expanding universe of “Star Trek” series, CBS All Access has ordered an animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” set to focus on the many Starfleet employees who don’t occupy commanding officer positions on flagship vessels. A24 also has “Moonbase 8,” starring Fred Armisen, John C. Reilly, and Tim Heidecker.

Aside from this new TV venture, Iannucci will be returning to the world of film with his upcoming Dickens adaptation “The Personal History of David Copperfield.” Now in post-production, the film will likely make its debut on the fall festival circuit, as “The Death of Stalin” previously did.

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