Pop group to star in comedy/variety show.

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 the popular Canadian pop group, known for its playful music style of tongue-in-cheek humor, pop culture lyrics and upbeat tempos.

The project, tentatively titled "The Barenaked Ladies Variety Show," 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 as well as musical guests.

Kara Welker, Dave Rath, Ann Maney, John Ziffren and Pierre Tremblay are on board to executive produce the project, which is looking for a writer. 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," Ziffren says. "We are trying to capture that energy and make it into a TV show."

"The Barenaked Ladies Variety Show" reunites the group with Fox, the network that propelled them to fame in 1997 when the band appeared on an episode of Fox's hit series "Beverly Hills, 90210" to perform their top-40 hit "The Old Apartment."

Additionally, the group has made guest appearances on the 20th TV comedies "Two Guys and a Girl" and "King of the Hill."

Barenaked Ladies, which was formed in the late-'80s by Page and Robertson, made Canadian music history with their self-titled five-song debut disc, which became the first independent release there to sell more than 80,000 units.

Their breakthrough in the States came with their fifth album, "Stunt." Fueled by the hit single "One Week," the album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, selling more than 140,000 copies in its first week. The album was followed in 2000 by "Maroon," which earned the group a Grammy nomination for the song "Pinch Me." The group's most recent CD, "Everything to Everybody," was released last year.

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