The freedom to Moon

Peter Moon explains to TV Tonight how Foxtel gave him creative freedom to devise his new comedy series, premiering on the Comedy Channel.

whttg08_233_bruno_peterPeter Moon has nothing but praise for Foxtel, and who can blame him? They’ve embraced his new series which is a pitch to come back Lazarus-like (or possibly Kirstie Alley / Larry David-like) in a comedy where he freely admits he’s climbing his way back from the bottom of the heap.

Moon says the idea first came to him following a forum at the National Screenwriter’s Conference by Foxtel executives.

“Kim Vecera and Brian Walsh did a presentation during which they said Foxtel now has 1.4m households and they wanted to spend some money on local shows,” says Moon. “And they used the magic phrase ‘HBO model.’ In other words they wanted to make good stuff.

“Kim said they’d love to see Australia’s answer to Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

With this inspirational seed firmly implanted in his creative mind, a self-deprecating Moon got to thinking.

“I said to my wife, ‘has anything funny happened in the last 25 years?’ She said “how about when you ate that beetroot salad and thought you were pissing blood?’

“So I wrote that down and ideas started to flood out.”

Working together with comedy writer Brendan Luno, Moon says he ended up with a 15 page script entitled Whatever Happened to That Guy?, which he pitched, somewhat clumsily, to Vicera over lunch.

“She later described it to me as an ‘anti-pitch’ that I did. It was my innate capacity to sell myself!” he said.

Four months later Vicera rang to say she liked the project and instructed him to write four scripts.

“She said ‘We want to know who your director is, your producer, after we’ve seen the scripts and know who the team is we’ll decide whether or not we want to go ahead.'”

Moon and Luno developed their scripts they arriving at a much bigger project, which after the numbers were crunched, would have cost twice the money that was on the table.

“We said ‘we’re going to have to cut down the number of characters and everything’. But Foxtel said ‘no, no we like it,’ and gave us the rest of the money. So that was fantastic I thought.”

Moon now has an 8 part series, with roles by 110 actors, including several ‘names.’ It has been a labour of love and one that he has been waiting to see hit the small screen, particularly as it was in the can last year.

“We delivered it to them in December,” says Moon, “and they’ve been waiting for a strategic position to launch it. Waiting for Underbelly to finish, I reckon.”

The comedy finally airs tonight, opening with a scene of Moon cackling over old footage of himself in Fast Forward. If it finds an audience, Moon is hoping Foxtel might greenlight a second series.

But as he admits in his underdog style: “It’s a show that might have trouble finding its audience because there’s no-one hugely famous in it.”

Whatever Happened to That Guy? premieres at 8:30pm on The Comedy Channel.

6 Responses

  1. watched this show the other night – didnt laugh once. Some good situations that would have been funny if they werent played so over the top, The supporting cast seemed a bit amateur, it reminded me an aussie 70’s sitcom

  2. Yeah their always showing old episodes of fast forward (I think.., dont have fox myself))so it should automaticly have some audience. I hope the writing is good. There is a lot of that mock doco stuff now and quite a bit about comics, Curb your.., Lead Balloon etc. Always liked the guy so I wish it good fortune. If its good I hope the ABC picks it up like they did with Chandon so I get to watch it.

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