With Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s hipster comedy, Portlandia, now concluded, IFC has renewed its baseball comedy, Brockmire, for two more seasons and will bring back docu-series spoof Documentary Now! early next year, said IFC president Jennifer Caserta at the channel’s upfront in New York City on Thursday.
”I think we can all agree that the world needs a little smart comedy right now,” said Caserta, who touted the cable net’s two Emmy Award nominations in 2017 in the category of best variety series for Documentary Now! and Portlandia.
Signature sketch-comedy series Portlandia helped define the former Independent Film Channel as a destination for offbeat new and acquired series, providing a central show around which the channel built its current tagline: “Always On. Slightly Off.”
But front and center Thursday was Seth Meyers, one of the creators of IFC’s Documentary Now!, which comes from Meyers, fellow Saturday Night Live alumni Armisen and Bill Hader, and SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels. The series begins production on seven new episodes this June and the upcoming third season will air in early 2019, more than two years after the second season concluded.
“When you take time and bring a show back, you do those Roseanne numbers,” joked Meyers, referring to the significant 18.4 million viewers (based on Nielsen live plus same day data) who tuned in for the reboot’s return earlier this week.
Two upcoming episodes of Documentary Now! will pay homage to 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon and 2012 documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present.
IFC also has ordered two additional seasons of sophomore comedy Brockmire, with Hank Azaria as Major League Baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, who suffers a public meltdown on the air after discovering his beloved wife has been unfaithful.
“I didn’t think it was possible to get darker than season one,” said Azaria of the upcoming season, which opens on Wednesday, April 25 at 10 p.m. ET. “It sort of makes season one look like Saved By the Bell. Jim can say all manner of insane things that I can’t. And he does that a lot.”
A third series, comedy-horror hybrid Stan Against Evil starring John C. McGinley, will return for season three next fall.
The comedic cable network also has announced a trio of additional short-form comedy initiatives. The first is a weekly 15-minute “best of showcase” for Night Flight (above), which initially aired in the 1980s and offered a mixture of documentaries, short films, stand-up comedy, music videos and more. It premieres Friday, April 20, at 1 a.m., and will feature vintage footage of the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, David Bowie, KISS and The Sex Pistols.
Next comes Bingo Night on IFC, an interactive and interstitial weekly bingo game that will air during breaks of the network’s Thursday-night movie starting April 26. And Sloth TV, available on all of IFC’s over-the-top platforms, pays tribute to what is referred to as “slow TV” with odd content from 1980s ranging from work-out videos to grandmothers knitting sweaters.
“IFC has created a brand that has a unique sensibility and a point of view of the world and we want to create a lot of opportunities for advertisers to get involved,” said Blake Callaway, EVP, brand marketing.
These new initiatives join FODtv (Funny or Die Television), which made its IFC debut on Saturday nights last fall and features an absurd array of new content from a potpourri of Funny or Die characters, including “The Shirtless Painter,” who was present – sans shirt, of course.