'19-2' star Jared Keeso to helm original scripted comedy for CraveTV
The half-hour comedy 'Letterkenny' was created by '19-2' star Jared Keeso, who also stars.
Cassandra Szklarski, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, March 5, 2015 10:09AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, March 5, 2015 1:35PM EST
TORONTO -- The crass musings of a country boy named Wayne are leaping from YouTube to CraveTV.
Bell Media says its on-demand streaming service has commissioned its first original Canadian series -- a six-part, half-hour comedy called "Letterkenny" that will star "19-2" actor Jared Keeso.
The show is based on Keeso's Internet venture "Letterkenny Problems," a five-part series of shorts that has garnered millions of views. Like the online version, the series will centre on a country boy named Wayne and his life on the farm in Letterkenny, Ont.
"It will be as filthy and crass and unintelligent as it was in the web sketches," Keeso promised Thursday during a break from writing scripts in Toronto.
"We don't want to mess with a good thing there. We want to give the audience something that they're already familiar with."
Keeso, from Listowel, Ont., is billed as creator, executive producer and co-writer. "The Trotsky" writer/director Jacob Tierney will executive produce, direct and co-write and Keeso says additional advice comes from "Goon" and "Fubar" director Michael Dowse. Nathan Dales will co-star as Wayne's sidekick, Daryl.
Keeso said the stories are heavily drawn from his own trials in rural Ontario.
"This is something that comes from my own hometown, Listowel, Ont. I'll be pulling from a lot of first-hand experience there, growing up in a town where getting your (butt) kicked is a legitimate concern on a day-to-day basis," said Keeso, who divides the community into "hicks," "skids" and "hockey players."
"We'll explore the different groups in the town, why they don't get along."
"Letterkenny" was commissioned in partnership with The Comedy Network, which will also air the series.
Keeso said creating the series has been fun so far, but he admits it's new territory for him. Best known for playing beat cop Ben Chartier on Bravo's cop drama "19-2," Keeso notes he's never been paid to write before.
"There's pressure there and there's deadlines, that's something that's new. With YouTube I could always kind of operate on my own time."
Production begins in northern Ontario this summer.