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‘The League’ Looks to NFL for Ideas, Guest Stars #TCA14

Complete Coverage: TCA Summer 2014

Jeff and Jackie Schaffer, the creators of The League, are always looking to the NFL for new storylines as the FXX comedy approaches its sixth season.

“There are certain issues in the NFL coming to the forefront — HGH, drug testing,” Jeff Schaffer said Monday during the show’s TCA summer press tour panel. “We’re going to hit that head on.”

The show, which centers around a group of friends in a fantasy football league, premieres later than other fall shows in order to glean ideas and inspiration from the beginning of the NFL season. “Camp starts now,” Schaffer said. “We’re trying to be as current as humanly possible.”

Last year, the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying scandal hit just too late for the show to mention. “We’ve been doing that for five years with Andre anyway,” Schaffer said, referring to Paul Scheer’s character, who is constantly ridiculed by the rest of the cast.

This season, the show will address the Michael Sam story, Schaffer said.

But just because they use NFL stories doesn’t mean you should pitch the Schaffers any stories from your own fantasy football league.

“Hearing about someone else’s fantasy league is like hearing about someone else’s dream,” Jeff Schaffer said. “Unless you’re in it, you don’t care.”

He added, “our stories are more comedy-based in the end ... football doesn’t define the comedy of the show.”

Other highlights from the panel included:

—Asked about The League switching from FX to FXX, Scheer said that since so many people nowadays tape shows and don’t channel surf they probably didn’t even know the show changed channels.

—Nick Kroll (Rodney Ruxin) said that Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is one of the athlete guest stars he enjoyed working with the most. Stephen Rannazzisi (Kevin MacArthur) noted that Watt even improvised with the cast. “He can take it and give it right back to you,” Rannazzisi said.

—Speaking of guest stars, Scheer suggested adding some characters from another football TV show. “I want some Friday Night Lights crossover,” Sheer said. “I want Riggins, I want Coach Taylor.”