Development Slate: Merchant deal; Clowes deal & Rudin out at HBO

Here is a brief look at what wheeling & dealing is going on in the corporate halls of


  • Stephen Merchant has more plans for HBO.

Mr. Merchant is no stranger to comedy. If you look at his work alone on HBO he has been involved behind the camera and in front of it in THE RICKY GERVAIS SHOW, LIFE”S TOO SHORT and EXTRAS. In all those shows he has been beside fellow Brit Ricky Gervais.

Now HBO has given the green light for Stephen Merchant to go solo as director and star of a new project. He is also the head writer of a comedy series coming to HBO called HELLO LADIES. The show is described this way – “a gawky Englishman is searching for the woman of his dreams in Los Angeles. Half as charming as he thinks he is – and twice Merchant-Helloas desperate – he’s obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of the beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in.” The concept is an elaboration on a standup routine he developed and tried on the road last year.


On board as executive producers and co-writers are Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky who write & produce the U. S. version of The Office. HELLO LADIES is slated to start shooting yet this year.


  • Dan Clowes writes comedy for HBO


For those who don’t know him Daniel Clowes is a graphic novelist & comic book artist who has dabbled in film. If you have seen 2001’s Ghost World than you have seen Clowes’ vision. Now he seems to be an interest to HBO and directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris; they are the directors of Little Miss Sunshine. Dan-Clowes

 The work shopped to HBO is called THE LANDLORD. The interested directors said of it, “We just looked over the script and it’s still very early, but we’re excited by trying to do something in TV, particularly at a place like HBO.” The premise of Clowes’ work gives us a volatile college professor who inherits a shabby apartment building in a remote California town. He drags his family into this unforgiving netherworld of small-town America in the hopes that it can get better. There is no time line as of yet for this half-hour comedy but HBOWatch will keep its eye on it so you don’t have to do it.


  • Rudin ends HBO deal


HBO had a deal with producer Scott Rudin to develop content but now that deal has been terminated. All the sources HBOWatch has utilized to report this news, however, cannot settle on the exact reason for the ouster. Some cite that HBO ended it because he is just a difficult person to work with; others say he ended it because he was too hasty with the deal and he wanted to shop his product around more. Regardless, who initiated the dissolution of the deal it seemed to occur after HBO passed on Rudin’s plans to bring THE CORRECTIONS to the pay channel; it proved too wieldy a project. Scott-RudinHBOWatch followed that show’s potential with two posts – New Series: ‘The Corrections‘ Coming to HBO and THE CORRECTIONS out at HBO.

Part of the problem with Rudin severing his ties with HBO is that he has been an executive producer on THE NEWSROOM and had other projects in the works with HBO including a Ben Stiller project called ALL TALK. We will have to wait and see how this all plays out. There could be more ramifications to all this than we know right now.


And we will also have to wait and see what else is on the development slate at HBO. When we know it so will you right here at HBOWatch.

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