TCA: Starz Creates Friday-Night Comedy Block

New series Head Case , Party Down continue premium network's original programming expansion.

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Los Angeles – Starz, continuing its expansion into original programming, is creating a one-hour Friday-night comedy block starting March 20, scheduling a veteran show and a new series back to back, officials said Saturday.

And the movie network will continue its foray into original drama, with the action series Spartacus set to launch in the fall, Starz announced at the Television Critics Association tour.

“In 2009, we are committed to expand our presence in the original space,” said Bill Myers, president and chief operating officer of Starz Entertainment and Starz Media.

Starting in March Starz has scheduled its veteran half-hour unscripted comedy Head Case at 10 p.m. Friday nights, followed by the new series Party Down at 10:30 p.m.

The improvisational show Head Case features Alexandra Wentworth as a Hollywood celebrity therapist, with Steve Landesberg also in the show’s cast. Each installment offers celebrity guests who will appear as themselves, including Jerry Seinfeld and Tori Spelling this season, which is 10 episodes.

“Jerry Seinfeld is dirty in our show...a little risqué for Jerry Seinfeld,” not Andrew Dice Clay, Wentworth said during the Starz panel on Head Case, which started out in 2007 as 10-minute segments, evolving into a half-hour show last year.

Head Case’s companion show, Party Down, follows a team of Los Angeles cater-waiters stuck working for tips while awaiting their big break, working jobs at a senior-singles mixer and a video-porn awards after-party, for example.

“Each episode is a single event,” Party Down co-creator and executive producer Rob Thomas said during Starz’s panel on the comedy, which was originally sold to HBO.

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