Josh Gad is on the cusp of a break out. Some might argue he’s already there, with his popping up on more frequently on every type of screen media there is. But if you ask My Damn Channel CEO Rob Barnett, he’s about as bullish as you can be on the career propects of a young star. “We are certain that he is the next Jonah Hill, Jack Black and Zach Galifianakis,” Barnett told the crowd gathered for his session today at the NATPE Content First conference in Miami.
Barnett announced his network’s latest tentpole web series, a quirky character comedy called Gigi: Almost American, that stars Gad and his fellow Lost Nomads comedy troupe members in a project that he created. Barnett screened the trailer for the 10-ep series that is a co-production between MDC and BBC Worldwide, marking BBC’s first leap in to original digital series. From what I’ve seen of the series so far, it’s a scoop full of Borat with a dash of Mr. Bean.
Web series fans already know Gad as Jon Heder’s camera popping roommate in Crackle’s 2009 comedy Woke up Dead (not to mention a 2010 Streamy Awards presenter), and movie buffs have seen him in films like 21 and Love and Other Drugs.
The 10-episode series will feature the adventures of Gigi, a loveable foreigner new to the U.S. with dreams of becoming an “average American.” Blending physical comedy, irreverent humor and absurd situations, Gigi will let nothing – not his lack of street smarts, fashion sense, or mastery of English – stand in the way of his American dream
“I am ecstatic,” said Gad on the announcement. “We’ve been developing Gigi with BBC Worldwide Productions for the past year and it is truly a passion project for the me and the Nomads.”
No specific date is set for the release yet, but Barnett says they are targeting this March for the first phase of the release which will be hubbed at My Damn Channel. The timing is a calculated move to sync up with Gad’s starring role in South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s controversial Broadway musical The Book of Mormon set to bow in March.
Also during his NATPE session Barnett alluded to a television project that will mark his company’s first full blown TV series, which is currently “in legal review” and more details should be coming in the next few weeks.