Often, when a sitcom receives a season renewal order in the double digits, there's not a great deal to celebrate. Its best runs are behind it, that will-they-won't-they relationship has been stretched out of all recognition, the once-cute kids have grown up and started to look weird, the wacky guest stars have begun queuing up... Fond of it as we may be, we all know deep down it's a dead horse being flogged.
Not so with It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, which, ironically, is the US sitcom most likely to feature the flogging of a horse, dead or otherwise. Its recent season nine and ten was every bit as funny and despicable as it's ever been - the Lethal Weapon episode a particular treat and the Awards episode a work of meta genius to rival Community's best.
FX announced a new three-year pact between FX Productions and RCG Productions, a deal that includes a two-season renewal for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a series order for a new Tracy Morgan comedy and a slew of scripts.
FXP's contract with RCG now runs through 2017.
"Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton are three of the most talented comedy writers and producers in our business, not to mention very gifted actors," blurbs Nick Grad, one of FX's Presidents of Original Programming. "This deal is a testament to their skill, intelligence and work ethic, which combined to earn them one of the best overall deals in TV. Not bad for three guys who shot a pilot ten years ago for $200 and a few pizzas."
Let's look at the individual pieces, shall we?
"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" has been picked up for two 10-episode seasons, which will take the comedy through Season 12. With that longevity, FX boasts that "Sunny" will become the longest-running live-action comedy series in cable history and will tie "My Three Sons" for the second longest-running live-action comedy in TV history. [The answer to the question you're probably asking is: "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."]
The second part of the RCG deal is a 10-episode order for a currently untitled comedy series starring Tracy Morgan and created by McElhenney, Day, Howerton and "Always Sunny" veteran Luvh Rakhe. Set to premiere in January 2015, this Tracy Morgan series replaces the Morgan FX pilot "Do or Die," which won't move forward.
But that's not all!
The deal includes a comedy pilot order to be announced!
It also includes a script order for "Harder," to be written by Howerton and Scott Marder, a script order for "Blow Up Dolls," to be written by Sarah Solemani, and a script order for "We're Good, Thanks," written by Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Artemis Pebdani, with Ellis and Pebdani attached to star.
“We’ve had a wonderful partnership with Rob, Charlie and Glenn and over the past ten years," states Eric Schrier, FX's other President of Original programming. "They are fantastic and prolific producers, writers and actors, and it’s great to continue to support their talents for many years to come."
In case you've forgotten, FX just ordered "The Comedians," starring Billy Crystal, to series, where it joins summer premieres "You're the Worst" and "Married" on the network's new comedy slate.
FX's comedy development pile still includes "Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll" from Denis Leary, an untitled comedy starring Zach Galifianakis and produced by Louis C.K., the Charlie Kaufman-created "How and Why," with John Hawkes, Michael Cera and Sally Hawkins. There's also "Man Seeking Woman" with Jay Baruchel and the animated "Bigfoot" from Seth Rogen.
Season 10 of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is set to premiere in January 2015.