Netflix lands Ricky Gervais satire starring Eric Bana, reaffirming commitment to comedy

Netflix landed the rights to Ricky Gervais’ comedy flick Special Correspondents. Gervais wrote the script and will direct the film starring Erica Bana as a struggling New York-based radio journalist. In classic War of the Worlds fashion, he fakes front-line war reports from his Manhattan hideout in an attempt to save his job. The movie is due out some time in 2016.

Netflix has shown a growing commitment to comedies, recently snagging Tina Fey’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt from NBC and it has since become an instant hit. Last week, Netflix announced a new sketch series from Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. The video streaming giant continues to pump money into developing exclusive feature-length comedy movies as well, having announced deals with both Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler. Toting a war chest of over $28 billion, Netflix seems unfazed throwing tens of millions of dollars into a high-profile feature film. They also announced today the hiring of Andrew Weil, a Universal Television vice president, to help grow original comedy programming. And Netflix continues to be a major player in streaming hourlong stand-up comedy specials.

Special Correspondents is classic Ricky Gervais; smart social satire with heart,” said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos. “It’s the kind of great grown-up comedy that studios rarely make anymore, one that’s perfect for Netflix members around the world.” The site appears quite smitten with the British comedian. Gervais just released his Derek one-hour send-off special instead of a third season, which plays on television in the UK and on Netflix here in the United States. It seems like their partnership is budding into something special. Maybe one day we’ll see the feature-length David Brent movie online.

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Billy Procida

Laughspin editor-in-chief Billy Procida is a stand-up comedian in New York City. He hosts The Manwhore Podcast where he talks to women he's hooked up with about sex, dating, and why they didn't work out. Reach him on Twitter.

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