Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has expanded its comedy portfolio by signing an exclusive first-look deal with Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB), the critically-acclaimed improv and sketch comedy troupe owned by Matt Besser (“improv4humans,” “Besser Break the Record”), Amy Poehler (“Difficult People,” “Broad City”), Ian Roberts (“Key and Peele,” “Teachers”), and Matt Walsh (“Veep,” “Ghostbusters”). UCP has two theaters in New York and two in Los Angeles.
As part of the agreement, UCP will provide resources and support to develop UCB productions into scripted programming for NBCUniversal’s portfolio of cable networks as well as external networks and streaming services. This marks UCP’s first development deal with a theater group and is in line with the studio’s escalated effort to innovate and mine for fresh content through a unique lens.
“UCB is comprised of a group of amazingly talented people who are fearless when it comes to taking comedic risks,” said Dawn Olmstead, Executive Vice President, Development at UCP. “This partnership is a perfect fit for the studio because it allows us to incubate fresh ideas and make our mark in the comedy space by tapping into UCB’s unique point of view. We’re thrilled to be working with them.”
“This collaboration with Universal Cable Productions provides us with the resources to execute ideas and cultivate new audiences across platforms,” said Lisa Ullmann, head of television development, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. “The breadth and caliber of UCB talent is remarkable and with five theaters across two coasts, there’s no shortage of content to mine.”
UCP’s relationship with the renowned theater troupe includes active series with three of its alumni: Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham, creators and stars of “Playing House” on USA, which has been renewed for a third season, and Amy Poehler, executive producer of “Difficult People” premiering its second season on Hulu July 12.
UCB projects in development include:
WE CAN FIX YOU
Is your personal life in need of an overhaul? Matt Besser, Ian Roberts and a team of UCB comedians take on the personal problems of a studio audience and then, using unorthodox methods, set out to transform their lives for the better. They may not be trained, but their empathy runs deep. Based on the successful UCB stage show. Matt Besser, Owen Burke, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Aliyah Silverstein serve as executive producers.
HOUSE OF DELTA
The cutthroat inner machinations of a Southern sorority as told through the dramatic lens of a political thriller. If you think the drama depicted in David Fincher’s “House of Cards” is intense, wait until you get a glimpse of the dark inner workings of the Delta Omega sorority at Southeast Georgia State University! Laura Grey and Megan Stein to write and executive produce.
A parody of musically-driven TV shows (“Empire,” “Nashville,” “Glee”) that follows a group of misfits in the surprisingly high-stakes world of Karaoke. Jeff Hiller and Pam Murphy are executive producers/writers.
THE PELIGROSO PROJECT
Horatio Sanz (“Saturday Night Live”) and Tom Gianas (“Mr. Show with Bob and David”) present a comedy series showcasing writing and performances from the next generation of Latino talent. Each episode features sketch comedy performed in front of a live studio audience, digital shorts and live man-on-the-street bits.
This mockumentary series follows the passionate but misguided members of a church planning committee as they prepare for their biggest event of the year: a sin-themed haunted house. Adam McCabe, Noam Bleiweiss and Betsy Sodaro to write and executive produce.