Showtime has given a pilot commitment to "The End of Steve," a dark comedy starring Matthew Perry.
According to the industry trade papers, Perry will be co-writing and executive producing the pilot with Peter Tolan, whose credits include "Rescue Me" and "The Larry Sanders Show."
Set up through Sony Pictures TV, "The End of Steve" would feature Perry as a bitter local TV talk show host in search of a bigger market and redemption of some sort.
The trades say that Showtime has given a pilot order with a substantial penalty attached. It's promised this will showcase a darker side of Perry than viewers may have seen before.
The biggest question might be where Showtime can find room for "The End of Steve" in an increasingly loaded comedy slate.
"Weeds" and "The Secret Diary of a Call Girl" premiered to strong ratings earlier this week, while "Californication" is set to kick off its second season this fall. Also returning on the comedy front is "Tracey Ullman's State of the Union," which is expected to begin its second season in 2009 along with an untitled new series from British comic Marc Wootton.
Showtime recently ordered a full season of "The United States of Tara," a comedy from writer Diablo Cody, and another comedy pilot starring Edie Falco is expected to still be in the mix.
While Perry only picked up a single Emmy nomination for his long run on NBC's "Friends," he also earned two Emmy nods for guest work on "The West Wing," plus another for the telefilm "The Ron Clark Story." Perry received strong reviews for his earlier return to primetime on "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which only lasted for one season on NBC.