Thursday, August 27, 2015

Julie Chen Talks Big Brother Strategy

Julie Chen is watching.  For 15 years, she's presided over CBS' Big Brother -- and this past June, on the eve of the debut of the show's 17th season, I sat down with Julie to get

Difficult People to Return

Although the summer season is getting ever-busier, with even broadcast networks debuting new limited-run dramas (CBS' Zoo, ABC's Astronaut Wives' Club, NBC's Aquarius, etc.) for each of the past few years.

For comedy, though, with the exception of this year's two NBC sitcoms Mr. Robinson and The Jerrod Carmichael Show, the only place to go is cable, for offerings like two of my faves this year, Comedy Central's Another Period, and the return of USA's Playing House.

And then there's my favorite new comedy of all, Hulu's Difficult People.  At the TV Critics' convention last month, I asked the show's creator/executive producer Julie Klausner and her co-star Billy Eichner if the show, with its gay man/straight woman duo, might be the new Will & Grace.  It turns out, that's kind of how they originally pitched the show -- with self-deprecating qualifications about how they're less attractive.

That day at TCA, though, Julie and Billy did distance themselves a bit from the 1998-2006 classic NBC sitcom -- because these days, it's so out of fashion to be compared to, God forbid, a multi-camera comedy.  But I do see the connection, and it's a positive one.  If you liked Will & Grace, you'll love Difficult People, which has similarly witty one-liners that will have you laughing out loud.  The show has garnered criticism that its lead characters are "unlikeable" -- but really, I see it as if not Will Truman and Grace Adler but instead their wackier sidekicks, Jack McFarland and Karen Walker, were unleashed on New York.  And even when Karen was upbraiding a waiter or picking on Grace's outfit, I always found her not only likeable, but loveable.

So invest some time in these Difficult People -- particularly because, as we found out today, the show will be returning for a ten-episode second season.  (And check out Julie's hilarious quote in the official NBC Universal press release below.)

Hit Amy Poehler-produced Comedy Starring Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner from Universal Cable Productions will return for Second Season on Hulu 

SANTA MONICA, CA – August 27, 2015 – Hulu Original Difficult People has been picked up for a second season, the company announced today. Season two will include a 10-episode order.  Following a critically acclaimed debut, the breakout comedy series from executive producers Amy Poehler (Parks & Recreation), Dave Becky (Louie), Tony Hernandez of Jax Media and showrunner Scott King will return for a second season with creator, star and executive producer Julie Klausner and star Billy Eichner. The series is produced by Universal Cable Productions (UCP), a division of NBCUniversal.  

“We have been big fans of Difficult People from day one and are so happy to have Julie and Billy be part of the Hulu family. I cannot wait to see what a whole new season will bring and am pleased to bring more of their hilarious brand of comedy to fans,” said Craig Erwich, SVP, Head of Content, Hulu. 

"From our first meeting with Julie, Billy and Amy, to the spec pilot we shot with them, to Hulu's spectacular and ongoing commitment, this has been a dream of a show.  And I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid of them," said Jeff Wachtel, President, Universal Cable Productions and Chief Content Officer, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment.   

Difficult People hails from Julie Klausner (Billy on the Street) who stars alongside Emmy®-nominated Billy on the Street host Billy Eichner. As best friends living in New York City, their typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situations. Klausner and King wrote all episodes of season one and will continue to serve as executive producers for the series. 

"I'm the luckiest girl in the world to be able to make more episodes of Difficult People,” said Klausner. “This must be what it feels like to win the lottery, have a fast metabolism or win an Oscar for My Cousin Vinny." 

The second season of Difficult People comes to Hulu in collaboration with Universal Cable Productions. Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions in conjunction with Dave Becky’s 3 Arts Entertainment and Jax Media will continue to produce the series.