Stephen Merchant, the writer most famous for co-creating the milestone comedy series The Office with Ricky Gervais, has received a sitcom pilot of his own from HBO.
The pilot, titled Hello Ladies, will star Merchant, who will also write and direct. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Merchant will play "an English guy looking for love in Los Angeles who's infatuated with the city's polarizing world of beautiful people, which he'll desperately attempt to crack."
Merchant co-wrote the pilot with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, which could be a little worrying; the duo were responsible for the atrocious films Year One and Bad Teacher. However, the duo have also written plenty of fine episodes of the American version of The Office (from seasons 2 to 6), so there's reason yet to hope.
Hello Ladies is named after, and presumably thematically related to, Stephen Merchant's stand-up comedy special of the same name.
In addition to The Office, Merchant's television credits include several collaborations with Ricky Gervais, such as Extras, Life's Too Short, An Idiot Abroad, and The Ricky Gervais Show. Life's Too Short will return for its second season on HBO next year, while The Ricky Gervais Show just wrapped up its third season on the network.
Hello Ladies will be Merchant's first solo television writing venture. If you're looking for more Stephen Merchant, check out his hilarious voice-acting turn as Wheatley in the video game Portal 2, or his supporting role in the Owen Wilson/Jason Sudeikis comedy film Hall Pass. Merchant also serves as an executive producer on the American version of The Office.