July 15th, 2009

FX Orders Fantasy Football-Themed Comedy Pilot

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Sick of the predominance of “reality” shows on the tube these days? How about an extra dose of fantasy?

FX — the network that has scored hits with dramas such as Rescue Me and The Shield and the comedy It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — has reportedly ordered a pilot for a half-hour comedy called The League.

The show, created by Curb Your Enthusiasm producer-director Jeff Schaffer, is said to center on the participants of a fantasy football league and will branch from that base into “issues of marriage, friendship, parenting and love in suburbia.” The plan is to also have it follow the “semiscripted” approach behind CYE — meaning much of the dialogue will be improvised.

For Schaffer and wife Jackie Marcus Schaffer, the HollywoodReporter.com writeup calls fantasy football “a big part of their lives and marriage.” FSB.com also fully endorses this reported line from lead character “Pete” (played by Mark Duplass): “God bless fantasy football. There are many things a man can do with his time; this is better than those things.”

If the show succeeds, gets picked up and draws a good audience, it could certainly help to carry the fantasy sports concept even deeper into the mainstream than it already swims — showing the ever-shrinking group of critics that leagues comprise not a bunch of geeks but a gathering of people who share at least one common interest.

If it’s really done right, The League should make clear that fantasy leagues can not only provide a fun hobby but also foster connection among friends (or co-workers, etc.) who might not otherwise have any one thing to gather around.

Of course, in all likelihood, the fantasy league itself won’t serve as a central theme but rather the meeting place for otherwise disparate storylines. We’ll see just how everything will be set up once the show hits the air.

The pilot is in production right now with no broadcase date yet announced.