By Sahil Patel
Fresh off the heels of his Golden Globe win last night, Andy Samberg now has a digital-and-TV development deal with Fox Broadcasting through his sketch comedy group The Lonely Island. The newly formed “alternative venture” will focus on incubating new comedy projects on digital platforms like Hulu and Roku with the ultimate goal of producing full-length series for Fox, FX, FXX, and other TV networks.
Samberg and The Lonely Island crew are no strangers to online video, having started out on YouTube before making it big after joining “Saturday Night Live” in 2005. There, thanks to parody songs and other “SNL Digital Shorts” viral hits like “Lazy Sunday,” “Jizz in My Pants,” and “I’m on a Boat,” the trio were able to build a sizeable YouTube following, which currently reaches more than 5.6 million subscribers (the channel is networked with Above Average, an offshoot of Lorne Michaels’ production company, Broadway Video).
“This is Fox’s third alternative development venture, and I’m ecstatic that we’re launching it with comedic geniuses The Lonely Island,” said Kevin Reilly, Fox’s entertainment chairman, said in a statement. “I’ve admired Akiva, Andy and Jorma’s work for many years, and they share our desire to give creators more independence and the opportunity to take risks. These guys know what it takes to break through — whether online or on air — and they are the perfect partners to help us find the next generation of comedy hits.”
“It’s vital that we foster more experimentation both on and off the Fox lot, so we can take more shots at identifying hits. We are committed to providing The Lonely Island all the support they need for success,” added Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, SVP of multi-platform programming for Fox.
It’s not the first instance of Fox looking to the digital hemisphere for new programming ideas. Last year the broadcaster struck a deal with digital studio WIGS to market the YouTube channel’s scripted drama programming, as well as foster ideas for future TV projects.