Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller Headed Back To TV Comedy

Will Ferrell is making his small screen return!

The former “Saturday Night Live” funnyman will star in a new spoof show, “The Spoils of Babylon,” on IFC, the comedy network announced on Thursday.

Ferrell will play fictional famous author Eric Jonrosh in the series, described as a “blowsy century--spanning saga” which chronicles the “sexy and dramatic lives” of a family with a colossal oil fortune.

“’The Spoils of Babylon’ spans three generations, taking viewers from the oil fields of Texas to boardrooms in New York City, through world war battlefields and velvet sheeted bedrooms,” the network said in a release. “As the story unfolds, the booze, the passion and the heartache lead to illegal arms deals and international espionage with the Shah of Iran, not to mention the creation of the doomed sub-¬prime market.”

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“This is a crazy and maybe even a stupid idea,” Ferrell joked of his new gig. “IFC is either really courageous or really stupid which makes them the perfect partner for us.”

IFC – which has earned a rapidly growing comedy fan base with shows like Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s “Portlandia” and Scott Aukerman’s “Comedy Bang! Bang!” – has ordered six half-hour episodes of the show (produced by both Ferrell and “Step Brothers,” “Anchorman” director Adam McKay, penned by “Saturday Night Live” alum Andrew Steele and directed by Matt Piedmont), set to premiere in late 2013.

Additionally, Ben Stiller is also heading to IFC – as a producer.

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The network has greenlit 10 half-hour episodes of “The Birthday Boys,” a new, scripted, original sketch comedy show produced by Stiller and Bob Odenkirk (a former “SNL” scribe and writer on Stiller’s “The Ben Stiller Show”), which will feature The Birthday Boys – a comedy group of Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Los Angeles fame.

“The Birthday Boys are too good to just be making viral videos. They are funny enough to fill time between episodes of ‘Portlandia,’” Stiller said. “I’m thrilled to be working with Bob Odenkirk again on a TV project. We try to do something every 20 years or so.”

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Odenkirk added, “The Birthday Boys are a super funny and fresh new comic voice. I will try not to slow them down.”

The Birthday Boys comedy group includes Jefferson Dutton, Dave Ferguson, Mike Hanford, Tim Kalpakis, Matt Kowalick, Mike Mitchell and Chris VanArtsdalen.

-- Erin O’Sullivan

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