Simpsons showrunner Josh Weinstein developing UK comedy
American television writer and producer Josh Weinstein is developing an adult, animated comedy series for British television audiences, it has been revealed.
Weinstein has already acted as showrunner, heading the writing team, for new CBBC comedy Strange Hill High, and is now working with the same production team to develop an original series for mature audiences.
Strange Hill High is a childrens' sitcom that uses a unique and groundbreaking mix of traditional puppetry, CGI and stop-motion animation known as Hypervynorama. Its first series debuted on CBBC this week and a second is already in production for broadcast in 2014.
Strange Hill High is produced by Altrincham-based Factory Transmedia, with whom Weinstein is now developing the new adult-orientated format.
Speaking at an event to mark the BBC's move of many services to Manchester, Phil Chalk, producer and managing directo of Factory Transmedia, described a British animated comedy series for adults as his "holy grail", but would not be drawn on the "top secret" new Weinstein project, according to trade publication BroadcastNow.
Animated comedy has somewhat of a mixed history in Britain, with Aardman's family-friendly stop-motion adventures featuring characters such as Wallace & Gromit the only notable successes.
In November, Channel 4 launched adult cartoon series Full English, produced by Los Angeles studio Rough Draft, whose other credits include The Simpsons Movie and Futurama, to almost universally negative reception.
In association with Baby Cow Productions, the channel has also experimented with cartoons based on various Viz comic strips, but none are yet believed to have progressed beyond short, online-only episodes.
It was also Channel 4 who broadcast the previous notable animated series, Bromwell High, an adult sitcom set - like Strange Hill High - in a secondary school somewhere in London. A co-production between Hat Trick Productions and Canada's Teletoon channel, 13 episodes were produced by only seven ever broadcast in Britain.
The BBC has had more mixed fortunes. It broadcast two largely well-received series of Stressed Eric between 1998 and 2000 on BBC Two, but cancelled the airing of BBC Three's Popetown in 2004 before a single episode had been transmitted, due to protests from Roman Catholic pressure groups. That series has since been released on DVD.
No further detail on the new Weinstein project is publicly known, but ITV, Channel 4 and the BBC are all known to be looking for new adult comedy hits.
Here is a trailer for the current series of Strange Hill High:
In the following clip, Blue Peter's Helen Skelton looks at how the Strange Hill High puppets work.
Lee Evans, one of the UK's best known stand-up comedians, has unexpectedly announced that he is going to retire from comedy at the end of the month.
Paddy McGuinness is to return to comedy acting with a role in ITV's new sitcom series about midwifes, The Delivery Man.
Comedy Central has confirmed the commission of a new studio sitcom, I Live With Models.
The BBC has revealed its Magna Carta celebration season, to include new Horrible Histories, and new programmes from Rory Bremner, Kayvan Novak, and others.
UKTV has announced it is increasing its investment in original scripted comedy, with a commitment to make five new shows for Gold in 2015.
John Cleese has been named as the most influential British comedy icon in a poll. David Jason was 2nd, with Rowan Atkinson 3rd.
Jason Manford explains why his new DVD is making people soil themselves, and he talks about his club chain. Read
Win tickets to see Variety Soup in London. It's the fantastic hit show from the Slightly Fat Features ensemble. Enter
Dave Cohen prepares Big Comedy Conference delegates with an attempt to explain EVERY type of joke. Read
Sarah Millican chats to Richard Herring in the latest episode of his podcast series. It's a funny chat. Listen
Comedy sketch duo Flip and Maggie ask 'Where are the people, particularly women, of our age in comedy?' Read
The 15 finalists involved in the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year 2014 competition are listed here: Read
An article in which Dave Cohen looks at the structure of a joke, and explains how Aristotle got there first. Read
Eddie Izzard is to write his memoirs. He has signed a book deal with a US publishing company. Read
Nine of the brave souls who performed stand-up for the first time as part of a charity gig report back. Read
Stand-up Sara Pascoe is this week's guest on Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast. Listen
An interview with Joseph Morpurgo, a comic actor whose solo work is pretty audacious in ambition. Read
The stars of Babylon, Channel 4's police-based comedy drama, talk about how they prepared for the show. Read
The creators of new sitcom Puppy Love introduce the show, and talk about working with canine stars. Read