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Bob Odenkirk Sticking With AMC for New Series ‘Straight Man’

The ”Better Call Saul“ star will play the chairman of an English department in an underfunded Pennsylvania college

While “Better Call Saul” is coming to an end this year, star Bob Odenkirk is sticking with his AMC family for his next project.

The network announced on Wednesday that it’s fast-tracking development on a new series called “Straight Man” that will star Odenkirk and is aiming for a 2023 debut on AMC and AMC+ with partners Sony Pictures’ Television, TriStar TV and Gran Via.

Based on the novel of the same name by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo, the show is described as a mid-life crisis tale set at Railton College, told in the first person by William Henry Devereaux, Jr. (Odenkirk), the unlikely chairman of the English department in a badly underfunded college in the Pennsylvania rust belt.

Paul Lieberstein (“The Office”) and Aaron Zelman (“Silicon Valley”) will serve as co-showrunners while Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”) will direct. Lieberstein, Zelman, Odenkirk, Farrelly, Richard Russo, Naomi Odenkirk and Marc Provissiero are executive producers.

Odenkirk said in a statement, “I loved Paul and Aaron’s take on Richard’s excellent, entertaining novel. Once again a project with AMC with a focus on character depth and sensitivity. This milieu (academia) seems very pertinent to the conversations we’re all having.  I am drawn to the tone of humanity and humor in the novel and I look forward to playing this role – something lighter than my recent projects but still closely observed and smart.” 

“Bob Odenkirk is just as good as it gets. We feel so fortunate to be developing a new show that would keep him at AMC after “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad,” two iconic series that have been beloved by millions of fans and helped define AMC and its reputation for unforgettable characters and high-quality storytelling for adults,” said Dan McDermott, president of entertainment and AMC Studios for AMC Networks. “We’re also thrilled to be working again with our partners at Sony Pictures Television and Mark Johnson’s Gran Via to explore this compelling material.”

This is Odenkirk’s third series at AMC after first appearing in the Emmy-winning “Breaking Bad” as lawyer Saul Goodman. Once that show ended, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould opted to create the prequel series “Better Call Saul” built around Odenkirk’s character. That show wraps up after six seasons this year.

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