Comedy news: Starz picks up scripted series, Gilbert joins Big Bang Theory
Starz Entertainment is getting into the scripted sitcom biz with two new comedy series slated to kick off in January.
The first, Hollywood Residential, focuses on the problems facing a home-makeover show geared toward celebrities. The other new series, Head Case, is about a psychotherapist whose clients are all big Hollywood celebs.
The "celebrity" angle of both shows is not a coincidence: Mike Ruggiero, Starz VP of programming, says it's a way of getting viewers used to seeing scripted shows on the channel by featuring some of the celebrities also seen in the movies that originally made up Starz's programming. I don't quite understand that logic, since HBO seemed to do just fine when it started airing original programs without any big names attached.
Both series have been given an eight-episode order, and will be partially-improvised. Head Case has already appeared on the channel as a twelve-minute program featuring actress Alexandra Wentworth as a psychotherapist chatting with real-life celebrities. It will be stretched to half an hour for its "debut."
Starz also has plans for more scripted series in the future.
Meanwhile, over at CBS, Roseanne star Sara Gilbert will join The Big Bang Theory for a few episodes as the love interest of Leonard, played by her former Roseanne co-star Johnny Galecki. The Big Bang Theory premieres September 24.