Australia’s Jungle, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s production company and CBS Television Studios will produce a US version of the comedy No Activity for streaming platform CBS All Access.
The show’s creators Trent O’Donnell and Patrick Brammall will write the scripts for the eight-part series as showrunners and executive producers, and O’Donnell will direct.
Jungle’s Jason Burrows, who will also serve as an EP, told IF there will be similarities between the original and the remake although the scripts for the latter will be “very different.”
The synopsis: Set over the course of a major drug cartel bust, No Activity follows the misadventures of two low-ranking cops who spend way too much time together; two criminals who are kept in the dark; two dispatch workers who haven’t really clicked; and two Mexican tunnelers who get stuck in a space unsuitable for a pair of relative strangers.
CBS All Access won a bidding war for the project orchestrated by UTA, which represents Jungle, O’Donnell and Brammall.
“We had multiple offers. The CBS package was the best creatively and for the money and marketing power,” Burrows said.
CBS Television Studios suggested bringing in Ferrell and McKay’s production company Gary Sanchez (also repped by UTA) to help secure a big name cast.
Jungle produced Review with Myles Barlow, which was remade by Comedy Central in the US as Review with Forrest McNeill and ran for three seasons.
Stan commissioned the original No Activity, a semi-improvised comedy which ran for two seasons and starred Brammall and Darren Gilshenan as detectives on stake-outs where, as the title suggests, there was little or no activity.
Stan will screen the US series as a Stan Original series as part of the agreement for the format deal. Shooting in LA will start in the fourth quarter. There is no word on casting but it would not be a stretch to imagine the laconic Ferrell as one of the leads.
It will premiere in the US before the end of this year, programmed between two upcoming chapters of Star Trek: Discovery. CBS will own the show and thus control international distribution.
O’Donnell is currently directing Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the Fox network in the US while Burrows is executive producing the series Mr Inbetween for FX, a Jungle partnership with Blue Tongue Films.
Based on the 2005 feature The Magician, which was written, directed by and starred Scott Ryan, Mr Inbetween follows Ray Shoesmith, a charismatic yet volatile hitman who strives to maintain friendships, parental responsibilities and a fledgling romance while carrying out his grisly business.
Ryan reprises the role. Nash Edgerton, a member of the Blue-Tongue Films collective, is directing in his TV debut and Michele Bennett produces.