Syfy is venturing into the realm of original animation with ‘Alien News Desk’ from the minds of ‘Saturday Night Live”s Will Forte and Heidi Gardner. The series is set to premiere in early 2019, and will air at 11 pm as a companion to ‘Futurama’, which Syfy acquired this past spring. SNL creator Lorne Michaels will serve as executive producer alongside SNL’s Erik Kenward and Dennis McNicholas, who wrote for ‘SNL: Weekend Update’ and will serve as showrunner of ‘Alien News Desk’. Forte and Gardner will voice the two lead characters Drexx Drudlarr and Tuva Van Void.
The series will be a mixture of live action and animation, set at an alien news network that covers “the universe’s most baffling species – the inscrutable Humans of Planet Earth.” Drexx and Tuva deliver real news stories, “give or take a few intergalactic translation errors.”
After acquiring the rights to ‘Futurama’ and airing the series late at night, the reruns have been a solid hit and motivated Syfy to expand to original adult-skewing animation, a format that has delivered gold for Cartoon Network, whose Adult Swim has created cult phenomena since 2001, with the likes of ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’, ‘The Boondocks’, ‘Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law’, ‘Rick and Morty’, ‘Robot Chicken’, and ‘The Venture Bros.’
Forte has also delved into adult animation by providing voices for Comedy Central’s ‘Moonbeam City’, Hulu’s ‘The Awesomes’ and FOX’s ‘Bob’s Burgers’, as well as more traditional all-ages fare like ‘Gravity Falls’. ‘Moonbeam City’ creator Scott Gairdner will serve as co-executive producer of ‘Alien News Desk’, which hails from Michaels’ Broadway Video and Bento Box Entertainment, the animation studio behind ‘Bob’s Burgers’.
NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s President of Entertainment Networks, Chris McCumber stated:
“I think this is a real opportunity for Syfy to open up a new area of business for us, which is late-night original animation. We loved it because it was a way for us to do topical animation and doing a take on what’s happening in real life from an alien point of view, which we think is a really fun way to do it. Politics, current events are covered ad nauseam. People do it way better than SyFy can but what we can do is bring a point of view that’s completely different, completely unique and something that’s not there in the marketplace right now.
“If you look at the top 30 shows every day in cable, you see a lot of unscripted and a lot of animation. It’s mostly, at this point, one network and we think there’s an opportunity there. Why should Adult Swim have all the fun? My favorite show on TV right now is Rick and Morty. I think it’s brilliant, I think the writing is amazing. It’s a show that when I watch it, I’m exceedingly jealous of, I will say that. I think that to me it is the high bar as far as the type of animation that SyFy would want to do.”
What do you think of Syfy swimming into Adult Swim territory?