truTV has given the greenlight to its first-ever sketch-comedy series: Friends of the People. The series stars comedians Kevin Barnett (Sleepwalk with Me, Guy Code), Jennifer Bartels (In Living Color reboot, Broken Exes), Jermaine Fowler (the upcoming Comedy Underground with Dave Attell), Lil Rel Howery (In Living Color reboot, Variety’s “10 Comics to Watch”), The Lucas Bros. (upcoming 22 Jump Street, Fox’s Lucas Bros Moving Co.) and Josh Rabinowitz (I Just Want My Pants Back, Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch). The network has ordered 10 episodes, including the pilot, with plans to launch the series in summer 2014. Friends of the People is being produced by 3 Arts Entertainment and Marobru Productions (Chappelle’s Show, Comedy Underground with Dave Attell).
Friends of the People will take sketch comedy to the next level, with a combination of scripted sketches, man-on-the-street segments and more. Pilot sketches include a previously-untold story from television history, and the adventures of “Tracy Morgan Freeman.”
Friends of the People is being executive-produced by 3 Arts Entertainment’s Michael Rotenberg and Avi Gilbert; Marobru’s Michele Armour (Comedy Underground with Dave Attell) and showrunner/director Neil Punsalan (The Pete Holmes Show). The cast members also serve as writers and executive producers, with Josh Rabinowitz and Kevin Barnett as head writers.
“Friends of the People is the perfect show to mark truTV’s entrance into the world of sketch comedy,” said Chris Linn, president, head of programming for truTV. “This series features a multi-talented and hilarious cast of performers, writers and producers who share a remarkable chemistry with one another. We are extremely excited that this unique group of comedians will be making its home on truTV.”
Friends of the People joins several recently announced shows coming to truTV, including the new summer series The Carbonaro Effect, starring magician/prankster Michael Carbonaro; the competition show Motor City Masters, hosted by Brooke Burns; and the fascinating series The Safecrackers. truTV has enjoyed success in the comedy arena with such series as Impractical Jokers, Killer Karaoke and Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, all of which recently returned with new episodes.
“Friends of the People is a terrific addition to the truTV slate and an important step for the network as we refresh and expand the new truTV brand,” Linn said.