24 July 2012 8:27 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Gervais collaborator gets his own TV pilot, Pegg's Comic-Con costume fetish causes offence, and Russell Brand wants to be a vicar ... so it seems

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Stephen Merchant is working on his own TV project – his first outside of his partnership with Ricky Gervais. The lanky star is to write and appear in a pilot entitled Hello Ladies, based on his 2011 standup tour of the same name. The pilot – like the standup show – will focus on Merchant's supposed cackhandedness with the opposite sex, and will shoot later this year, according to Deadline. Merchant (who will also executive produce) has written the episode with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, both former writers on the Us version of The Office. Eisenberg and Stupnitsky also worked on the comedy films Year One and Bad Teacher.

Lovers of comedy, look away now: Russell Crowe is to direct a biopic of Bill Hicks. »

- Brian Logan

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