Syfy is making a push into live-action comedy with "Saved by Zeroes," a single-camera half-hour from former "Smallville" star Michael Rosenbaum, Sony and Happy Madison.
Rosenbaum and Jonathan Silverman are set to star in the project, created by Rosenbaum and based on his personal experiences. It revolves around two friends, former actors on a science fiction show that has since developed a cult following, who have hit rock bottom and must work together to get their lives back on track.
Although Syfy's lineup remains 70% drama, the network is serious about adding live-action half-hours in addition to the comedic hourlongs it now has, including the hit "Warehouse 13," Syfy senior vp Andrew Plotkin said.
"It helps us counterprogram and bring in younger audiences," he said.
Syfy has one half-hour series on the air, the animated "Outer Space Astronauts."
Plotkin said the network's brass were instantly drawn to "Zeroes" because of the involvement of Rosenbaum, Silverman and Happy Madison, but it was the concept that sealed the deal.
"This is such a personal idea of Michael's stemming from his experience on 'Smallville,' " he said. "There is a lot of character depth to it."
Plotkin can relate to Rosenbaum's experience: As an executive at Warner Bros. TV, he was involved in the development of "Smallville."
Rosenbaum got the inspiration for the show while attending numerous sci-fi/comic book conventions while on the long-running WB/CW series. He describes "Zeroes" as "Galaxy Quest" meets "Eastbound & Down."
"Through drugs and drinking, (the characters played b Rosenbaum and Silverman) didn't save money and, years later, the only thing they have left are the conventions, all they've got are their loyal, devoted fans," Rosenbaum said. "Our show is not about being in the business, it's about being out of the business; it's the 'Non-tourage.' We're the losers you want to see back on top."
Adam F. Goldberg is attached to the project, which has received a script order, as executive producer/showrunner. He and Rosenbaum first met for a script Goldberg had in development at Happy Madison for which the company's Doug Robinson thought Rosenbaum would be perfect for.
"We started talking about a bunch of nerdy things," said Rosenbaum, a self-professed geek who regularly attended sci-fi and comic conventions as a fan long before he made it as an actor. "Next thing, we were writing a horror movie together."
The two are shopping that horror pic to movie studios. Rosenbaum also is guest starring on Goldberg's pilot this season for Fox and Sony/Happy Madison.
Rosenbaum, also repped by attorney Todd Rubenstein, next stars in "Father of Invention," while Paradigm-repped Silverman will next be seen in "Swinging With the Finkels." Both are managed by Untitled.