EXCLUSIVE: It looks as if Channel 4’s loss could once again be Sky’s gain. Last year, the satcaster handed a series order to Big Talk Productions’ Chickens, a sitcom from Simon Bird, Jonny Sweet and Joe Thomas. That project, which revolves around 3 men in a world of women after they get out of serving in the army during World War I, had some heady auspices, originating from the stars of Channel 4’s hit series The Inbetweeners, and was given a broadcast pilot order at Channel 4. The pilot was aired in a late-night slot in 2011 and despite those heady auspices, executives at Channel 4 passed on picking up Chickens to series. Sky1 then picked up the project with a six episode order in 2012, with Chickens curently set to air on Sky1 this Summer. Sky’s Head of Entertainment Stuart Murphy had been critical of Channel 4’s decision to pass on Chickens: “If I was at Channel 4 and talent that had delivered my biggest hit in comedy for 15 years have an idea, I would probably not just order a pilot and stick it out late at night” he said at MGEITF 2012.
I now hear that BSkyB is poised to go two-for-two as sources tell me that they are close to commissioning a new sitcom titled Give Out Girls. I’m told that the comedy series was created by Hatty Ashdown and Anthony MacMurray and is set to be picked up to series with a six episode order. Plot details are being kept under wraps, but one source called the series “fantastic, really very funny.” I hear that Big Talk Productions and Popper Pictures will produce the series, with Big Talk’s CEO Kenton Allen attached to executive produce. It’s unclear if the sitcom is being developed for Sky1 or Sky Living, though one source tells me that the latter is more likely. Sky isn’t confirming any of this and declined to comment, but I’m told that the project was originally developed for Channel 4 back in 2010, however, it never got past the script stage. I hear that it was only after Sky picked up Big Talk’s Chickens that they floated Give Out Girls to the broadcaster. Sky then commissioned a series of scripts, which I’m told were delivered in December 2012. Word is that Sky and Big Talk are on the hunt for both a director and a casting director, clearly indicating the intention to green-light the series.