HBO, BBC Call for Extras

In their first joint comedy project, Home Box Office and the British Broadcasting Corp. Wednesday announced a co-production deal for Extras, a new series from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, creators of Golden Globe-winning series The Office.

Currently in production, the six-episode first season will debut on BBC Two this summer, with the HBO debut date yet to be determined.

In Extras, Gervais stars as bitter aspiring actor Andy Millman, who gives up his day job to pursue fame in the movies only to find that he just can’t land the big parts. Merchant will portray Millman’s agent.

Each episode will have a different setting and feature cameos by such notables as Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller, Kate Winslet and Patrick Stewart.

“Ricky Gervais is one of the most original comic voices working today,” HBO Entertainment president Carolyn Strauss said in a prepared statement. “HBO is extremely proud to join with the BBC in bringing his new show to America.”

HBO and the BBC have done co-production deals for telepics Dirty War and The Gathering Storm. The parties are also collaborating on upcoming series Rome.

Extras is being written and directed by Gervais and Merchant and executive-produced by Jon Plowman, head of comedy entertainment at BBC.