FOX Announces Comedy Development Venture with Andy Sandberg's 'Lonely Island'
Continuing its strategy of innovating outside the traditional TV development process, FOX Broadcasting Company (FOX) has entered into a strategic pact with multi-hyphenate comedy trio and Grammy Award-nominated performers The Lonely Island. Through the new company, The Lonely Island will oversee the development of comedy projects that will be incubated through digital platforms, such as Hulu and Roku, with the ultimate goal of becoming full series on FOX, FX, FXX or other networks.
"This is FOX's third alternative development venture, and I'm ecstatic that we're launching it with comedic geniuses The Lonely Island," said Kevin Reilly, FOX's Chairman of Entertainment. "I've admired Akiva, Andy and Jorma's work for many years, and they share our desire to give creators more independence and the opportunity to take risks. These guys know what it takes to break through - whether online or on air - and they are the perfect partners to help us find the next generation of comedy hits."
"Andy, Jorma and I are super excited to work with Mr. Reilly and everyone at FOX to make innovative and cool TV shows that might not otherwise make it through the normal development process. Reilly has given us a sandbox to play in, and we've brought our shovels, buckets, towels, sunblock, some old Grisham paperbacks, a Luna bar - wait - what was I talking about again?" said Akiva Schaffer.
"It's vital that we foster more experimentation both on and off the FOX lot, so we can take more shots at identifying hits. We are committed to providing The Lonely Island all the support they need for success," added Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, Senior Vice President of Multi-Platform Programming for FOX.
FOX's partnership with The Lonely Island marks the network's third multi-platform development initiative. In 2012, FOX launched ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF, its alternative animation unit. In 2013, the network announced a strategic deal with digital studio WIGS, created by television and feature film producers Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia.
Friends since childhood (they hail from Berkeley, CA), comedic rap trio The Lonely Island - comprised of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone - coined their name from the cramped West Coast apartment they shared as comic start-ups. In 2005, the trio joined "Saturday Night Live" (Samberg as a cast member and Taccone and Schaffer as writers/directors). The Lonely Island are responsible for creating the popular "SNL Digital Shorts," which re-invigorated the series and spurred many water-cooler moments. Some notable shorts include "D**k In A Box," "Lazy Sunday," "I'm On A Boat," "Jack Sparrow," "YOLO" and "The Natalie Portman Rap." In 2007, the trio won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for "D**k In A Box" and a Peabody Award for the 2008/2009 season. Taccone and Schaffer have also been honored with WGA Awards.
FOX INKS DEAL WITH THE LONELY ISLAND - Page 2
The trio boasts 1.24 billion overall views on their Youtube channel, as well as three Platinum singles ("I'm On A Boat," "Jizz In My Pants" and "I Just Had Sex") and one Gold single ("Like A Boss"). The Lonely Island's debut album, "Incredibad," was released by Republic Records in February 2009 and is the first comedy album to reach No. 1 on iTunes. Their 2011 sophomore album, "Turtleneck & Chain," which debuted at No. 3 on Billboard, was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Comedy Album and Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for "I'm On A Boat." They recently released their third album, "The Wack Album," in June 2013, featuring Hugh Jackman, Kristen Wiig, Robyn, Adam Levine, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Too $hort, Pharrell Williams, T-Pain, Billie Joe Armstrong and Solange. "The Wack Album's" lead single, "YOLO" (feat. Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar), made YouTube's "Top 10 Trending Videos" for 2013. They were also recognized by Billboard's year-end issue as the No. 1 Comedy Albums Artists, No. 1 Comedy Albums Title ("The Wack Album"), No. 1 Comedy Digital Tracks Artist and No. 1 Comedy Digital Tracks Title for "Yolo."
Samberg currently stars in the FOX comedy BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Comedy or Musical. The Tuesday night series will air a special episode on Sunday, Feb. 2 (approx. 11:00-11:30 PM ET/8:00-8:30 PM PT), after FOX Sports' coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII.
Taccone co-wrote and directed the 2010 feature film "MacGruber," starring Will Forte and Kristen Wiig. He most recently starred as "Booth Jonathan" in a multi-episode character arc on HBO's critically acclaimed "Girls."
Schaffer made his feature length directorial debut with "Hot Rod" for Paramount Pictures in 2007, and recently directed the 2012 feature-length film "The Watch," starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill.
About FOX Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), a unit of 21st Century Fox, is home to some of the highest-rated and most acclaimed series on television, including AMERICAN IDOL, THE FOLLOWING, NEW GIRL, Glee and THE SIMPSONS. The network ranked No. 1 in the key adult demographic for eight of the past 10 seasons and continues to dominate all network competition in the more targeted Adults 18-34 and Teen demographics. FOX airs 15 hours of Primetime programming a week as well as late-night entertainment programming, major sports and Sunday morning news. "Like" FOX on Facebook at facebook.com/FOXTV and follow the network on Twitter @FOXTV. For additional information about FOX, please visit fox.com.