PASADENA, Calif. — The fifth season of FX’s Emmy-winning comedy “Louie” returns at 9:30 p.m. (Central) April 9 after the series premiere of the basic cable network’s “The Comedians,” starring Billy Crystal and Josh Gad.
Crystal and Gad (“Book of Mormon,” “1600 Penn”) play heightened versions of themselves in the entertaining, show-within-a-show “Comedians,” also featuring Second City and iO alum Stephnie Weir. Thirteen episodes make up the first season.
It’s a behind-the-scenes look at a fictional late-night sketch program — “The Billy & Josh Show” — that pairs Crystal, a comedy legend, with Gad, a relatively immature up-and-coming star. “The Comedians” is written and executive produced by Larry Charles (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Seinfeld”), Matt Nix (“Burn Notice”) and Ben Wexler (“Community,” “Arrested Development”), along with Crystal.
The next season of stand-up comic Louis C.K.’s critically adored series will be eight episodes.
“It will be more laugh-centric funny” than the relatively drama-heavy season four, the stand-up comic told TV critics Sunday at winter press tour, where the network also announced plans for another C.K.-related project. FX Networks head John Landgraf said the net has ordered a comedy pilot, “Better Things,” directed and written by C.K. and featuring “Louie” star Pamela Adlon (“Californication”), who joined C.K. on stage at press tour. Adlon will star as Sam, a single mom and actress raising three girls. She’s co-writing the pilot with C.K.
“It’s taken from my life,” said Adlon, a real-life mother of three.
FX also announced that it’s snapped up TV rights to C.K.’s next standup comedy special, “Louis C.K. Live from the Comedy Store.” The hourlong special first will be available on C.K.’s website, LouisCK.net, in coming weeks before airing on FX this spring.
FX Networks boasts some of the edgiest, best comedies on television, like the raucous “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” which recently started its 10th season. It’s been renewed through season 12, at which point it will rank as TV’s longest-running, live-action, scripted comedy.
“Because we only do 10 episodes a season we can keep up the creative integrity of the show,” said “Always Sunny” creator and star Rob McElhenney during Sunday’s panel on the show. “I don’t know why we would ever stop.”
FX continues to feather its comedy nest. “Better Things” marks the fifth comedy series pilot produced or ordered by the cabler in the past year, including the comedy series pilots “Atlanta,” created by and starring Donald Glover, and “Pariah,” starring Bill Burr for Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton.
Last week, FXX launched the surreal, Chicago-set rom-com “Man Seeking Woman” with Jay Baruchel. This summer, Denis Leary (“Rescue Me”) returns to the network with “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.”
Earlier this year, FX ordered “Baskets” (2016), starring Zach Galifianakis from Galifianakis and C.K., and the untitled Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock”) project, whose release date will depend on the comic’s progress recovering from last year’s devastating car accident.