The single-camera comedy, produced by Fox Television Studios, features the 66-year-old multi-hyphenate as an established comic vet who gets paired with a younger, edgier newcomer, played by Broadway and TV actor Josh Gad, for a late-night sketch show--giving an insiders look at the late-night scene in the process. The network greenlighted the pilot last May.
Production on the 13-episode first season will begin this year, with a roll-out on FX slated for 2015. Crystal will serve as an executive producer and writer alongside Larry Charles ("Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Seinfeld"), Matt Nix ("Burn Notice") and Ben Wexler ("Community," "Arrested Development"). Charles directed the pilot. Josh Gad is serving as producer.
"The Comedians" marks Crystal's first regular starring role in a TV series since his performance as Jodie Dallas in the late '70s/early '90s ABC comedy "Soap."
“We’re incredibly excited about 'The Comedians' and the fact that Billy Crystal will be making his return to series television on FX," said Nick Grad, president of original programming for the network. "The chemistry between Billy and Josh is amazing, and Larry, Matt, Ben and Billy did a fantastic job of making what is certain to become one of the best comedies on TV.”
"The Comedians" is based on a Swedish format of the same name. The network, already established in the drama arena, has been steadily building its standing in the comedy game, most notably with critics and awards darling "Louie." In the fall it launched FXX, a cable network largely focused on comedy skewed to the younger demo.
In addition to "The Comedians," the network recently ordered two new comedies set to launch this July: "Married," starring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer, and "You're the Worst," starring Aya Cash and Chris Geere.
The new series join a roster of original comedies at FX and FXX that include "Anger Management," "Chozen," "Archer," "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," "Legit," "The League," and soon-to-be-departing "Wilfred."