AMC Networks is moving forward on a Bob Odenkirk series called Straight Man. Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein, who adapted the project from a Richard Russo novel, will be co-showrunners. The show is scheduled to premiere next year, with eight one-hour episodes.
Straight Man will be Odenkirk’s third series on AMC, following Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. It is a mid-life crisis tale set at Railton College, told by William Henry Devereaux, Jr. (Odenkirk), the unlikely chairman of the English department in a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.
“The saying goes ‘the third times a charm,’ but when it comes to Bob Odenkirk on AMC, the first and second times were about as charming, captivating and viscerally entertaining as it gets,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “As Better Call Saul begins its epic sixth and final season, we could not be more excited by the prospect of keeping Bob at home on AMC and watching him breathe life into another nuanced, complicated and unforgettable character. The chance to collaborate once again with our partners at Sony Pictures Television and Mark Johnson’s Gran Via is even more icing on a very satisfying cake.”
Zelman, Lieberstein, Odenkirk, Peter Farrelly, who is on board to direct, Mark Johnson, Richard Russo, Naomi Odenkirk and Marc Provissiero are executive producers.
“I am thrilled that AMC is embracing the unique scenario and characters in Paul and Aaron's adaptation of Straight Man,” Odenkirk said. “I have loved the mix of comedy and drama in Better Call Saul, and this is another story with a unique dynamic, and the kind of closely observed character writing and exploration that AMC has become the touchstone for. It’s going to be fun to play and watch!” ■
Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.
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