IFC has ordered two new comedies to add to their roster: "The Spoils of Babylon," starring Will Ferrell and produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay, and "The Birthday Boys," a new sketch show starring a popular Los Angeles comedy troupe produced by Ben Stiller and Bob Odenkirk.
"The Spoils of Babylon," which will be made in partnership with Funny Or Die, will be a parody of an "epic" mini-series about a war-torn oil dynasty, in the vein of "The Thorn Birds" and "Winds of War." Ferrell collaborators Matt Piedmont and Andrew Steele are also co-producing and co-writing, and Piedmont is directing.
Ferrell will play Eric Jonrosh, the author of the (fictional) story on which the mini-series is based. (If that's confusing, imagine that George R.R. Martin had a presence in "Game of Thrones.") The rest of the cast has yet to be announced.
"This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea," Ferrell said in a statement. "IFC is either really courageous or really stupid, which makes them the perfect partner for us." The show is expected to air late 2013.
"The Birthday Boys" has two sketch experts at the helm in Stiller and Odenkirk, whose first collaboration was on the sketch program "The Ben Stiller Show" in 1992. Odenkirk has since co-produced the sketch shows "Mr. Show with Bob & David" and "Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" The series will be produced for IFC by Abso Lutely, known for such off-kilter shows as "Tim & Eric," "Comedy Bang! Bang!" and "The Eric Andre Show."
Based in Los Angeles, the Birthday Boys are known as one of the most popular troupes at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and have produced several popular web videos. Members of the group include Jefferson Dutton, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell and Chris VanArtsdalen.
These two shows will join IFC's original comedy line-up, which currently includes the animated "Out There," with new episodes of "Portlandia" and "Comedy Bang! Bang!" coming later this year. The new show "Maron," starring comedian and podcaster Marc Maron, debuts later this year as well.