Spike TV—EXPLOSION! BOOB! MOTORCYCLE! NINJA!—has announced that it’s intent on doing some growing up, hoping to bring in an older, slightly more sophisticated audience of 25-49-year-olds with a new slate of scripted fare that’s heavy on workplace and family comedies, as well as shows about dudes who hang out and are dudes together, but in an older and slightly more sophisticated fashion. It’s all part of the network’s attempt to remake itself as a home for original programming, as opposed to the channel where you can watch the Star Wars trilogy every weekend followed by three straight hours of Girls Gone Wild commercials.
Among the new series in development: Thunderballs—executive produced by Wild Hogs’ Walt Becker, as you can tell from the similarly homoerotic title—follows three lifelong pals as they balance their work and family lives with the demands of their bowling league. It’s not to be confused with Powerball, which is about a thirtysomething slacker who wins the lottery. At Ease is about “two misfit U.S. Army drill sergeants” who use “unorthodox methods” in their training while avoiding their “uptight new captain with a grudge.” Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock director Beth McCarthy Miller has an as-yet-untitled “ripped-from-the-headlines” comedy about a sportswriter and the crazy athletes he reports on that sounds like a good excuse to make lots of LeBron James and Brett Favre jokes. F.T.W. stands for neither “For The Win” nor “Fuck The World,” as far as we know, but rather has something else to do with this “gritty” drama about an Atlanta police officer assigned by the Dept. of Homeland Security to infiltrate a domestic terrorist militia that has members of his own family. (Perhaps it stands for Family Terrorists, Whaaaaat??) And finally there’s the fairly self-explanatory Untitled Air Traffic Controllers Comedy and the Untitled Family Barbecue Comedy about a “Clark Griswold-type” who leaves his job to compete on the professional barbecuing circuit. Anyway, balls, money, soldiers, sports, guns, meat. All bases are covered.