Jack Dee pilots new stand-up format for Sky Atlantic

Wednesday 18th January 2012, 7:00pm

Lead Balloon. Rick Spleen (Jack Dee). Copyright: Open Mike Productions.Jack Dee is working on a new comedy entertainment format for niche digital channel Sky Atlantic.

A mix between a panel show and a stand-up format, Don't Sit In The Front Row involves four guest comedians attempting to keep the audience entertained by utilising facts and stories gleaned from members of the studio audience.

The more suited the audience members picked are at supplying suitable material for the comedians to use in their routines, the longer they are involved, until eventually one is left, who is reportedly given 'The Golden Chair Award'.

Production company Citrus Television undertook a trial run-through with an audience last Wednesday at The Drill Hall in London, where guest comics included Phill Jupitus. They are now working on convincing Sky's comedy boss Lucy Lumsden to order a series of the show.

Following the success of comedy series on Sky1 like sports panel show A League Of Their Own and family-friendly sitcom Spy, the satellite network is now looking to order more home-grown comedy formats to play on Sky Atlantic, its more niche interest channel. The channel currently mainly broadcasts American dramas, but aired a series of surreal comedy show This Is Jinsy in the autumn, with a second series in production for 2013.

Sky appear keen to work with Jack Dee, as last March they piloted another panel show which the deadpan comic hosted. Us Versus Them involved figures from the world of politics and current affairs taking on comedians to find out who knew most about the week's news. However, the pilot wasn't ordered with channel bosses instead opting to go with David Walliams' panel show Wall Of Fame, with Dee installed as a regular panellist on the series.

Jack Dee has hosted long-running Radio 4 panel show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue since 2009, but is now looking for a regular TV hosting role following the cancellation of Shooting Stars, on which he was a regular panellist. He will also not be making a fifth series of Lead Balloon, the BBC sitcom he has starred in and co-written since 2006.

News on whether Don't Sit In The Front Row is to be given the green light by Sky is expected later in the year.

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