Fox Tunes Up With Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies' engaging blend of music and comedy is coming to television.

Barenaked Ladies' engaging blend of music and comedy is coming to television. Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered a pilot presentation for a comedy/variety show starring the members of Canadian group, known for its playful music style of tongue-in-cheek humor, pop culture lyrics and upbeat tempos.

Tentatively titled "The Barenaked Ladies Variety Show," the project is set to expand upon the comedy sketches that have become a staple of Barenaked Ladies' concerts along with the quintet's humorous stage banter and improv bits with the audience.

The five band members -- Steven Page, Kevin Hearn, Tyler Stewart, Jim Creeggan and Ed Robertson -- will star in the skits as exaggerated versions of themselves, joined by guest actors. The show, in which all elements will be connected by a story line running through each episode, also will include musical performances by the group and musical guests.

Because there will be a strong element of improvisation on the show, the script will be designed to create a structure for the episodes, giving Page, Hearn, Stewart, Creeggan and Robertson a lot of room to ad-lib.

"This is a natural expansion to their live experience," says co-executive producer John Ziffren. "We are trying to capture that energy and make it into a TV show."

Co-executive producer Ann Maney, who had been pursuing Barenaked Ladies to do a TV show ever since she first saw them in concert 10 years ago, says the experience of working with them is beyond what she had hoped it would be. "They are a joy," she said. "They have great instincts, and they are tremendously talented guys who have wonderful ideas."

As previously reported, BNL will release a collection of seasonal music, "Barenaked for the Holidays," Oct. 5 via The End of Records/Nettwerk/Reprise.