Joanne the Scammer — an Instagram, then Vine, then YouTube star who’s been cranking out work from inside the Super Deluxe incubator for the last two years — is finally making the transition to television.
In a press release, the internet-first entertainment company announced that it’s developing a Joanne the Scammer TV series written by Parks and Recreation writer and The Good Place producer Joe Mande and executive produced by Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Chelsea Peretti. There is no network attached to the program yet.
Former Super Deluxe social media manager Jason Richards discovered writer-performer Branden Miller and his Joanne personality on Instagram in 2015, and CEO Wolfgang Hammer immediately enlisted Miller to make three short videos for the company’s fledgling YouTube channel. Since then, Joanne has become the crown jewel of Turner-owned Super Deluxe, churning out viral hits like “Caucasian Living with Joanne the Scammer” and selling weird, expensive merch. Hammer told The Verge in May that the company was excited to come up with a half-hour TV concept for her at some point.
In the same press release, Super Deluxe announced that The Passage, a new series by comedian Philip Burgers, would debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2018. The series, which follows the misadventures of a mute world traveler named Phil, is directed by The Eric Andre Show’s Kitao Sakurai.
Last year at Sundance, Super Deluxe’s The Chances, a web series created and performed by deaf writer-actors Shoshannah Stern and Josh Feldman, was picked up as the first original scripted series for AMC’s Sundance Now. Yesterday, the company announced that the Stern and Feldman-helmed TV adaptation of the Chances web series will be called This Close, and will be directed by Spa Night’s Andrew Ahn. It will star a mix of well-known talent, including Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines, Friday Night Lights’ Zach Gilford, Academy Award-winner Marlee Matlin (who recently joined the cast of ABC’s Quantico), and Colt Prattes, the star of ABC’s recent TV-movie version of Dirty Dancing. The new series will also debut at Sundance in January 2018, and premiere on Sundance Now on Valentine’s Day next year.
Additionally, Super Deluxe announced this week that Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim’s Abso Lutely Productions will co-produce a television show centered around Vine star and political satirist Vic Berger, and Titmouse, the animation production company behind Netflix’s Big Mouth, will co-produce an animated series called Boss Bitch from Canadian radio personality Kathryn Morel.
Seven months ago, Super Deluxe told The Verge it had 50 in-development TV shows it planned to bring to market in the next year. The company’s VP of original programming, Winnie Kemp, explained at the time, “We’re almost like an incubator. We’re able to help [young creators] preserve what they want to make and present it in a way that makes bigger companies feel confident that the execution and the creative is all going to be there when we make it.” This string of announcements is the most meaningful progress on that promise so far. And it’s certainly in keeping with the growing trend of companies using web series as test balloons for talent.
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