While this week is a big week for the major networks as they unveil their 2022-2023 programming plans and beyond, we also live in a world dominated by cable and streaming so Upfronts take on more of a structured free-for-all than they have in the past. Now, the reason why that's cool is that you never know when a very cool & surprising announcement is going to hit. For example, HBO Max and Cartoon Network announced earlier today that Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat, Who Is America?), Greg Daniels (King of the Hill) & Mike Judge (Beavis and Butt-Head) via their newly-formed Bandera Entertainment production banner, and Michael Koman (Saturday Night Live; Co-Creator, Nathan for You; Executive Producer, How To with John Wilson) for the new family-oriented animated special, Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth.
Set in the mythical "Town of Fools" and originally told in Yiddish, Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth shares the absurdist humor and interpretive questioning that is a nod to Jewish intellectual traditions. Narrated by Cohen, the special will present a fresh take on the silly antics and exaggerated conflicts of the town, while also preserving the essence and heart of the classic folktales. "This pitch was so hilarious; we just knew the HBO Max audience needed to get a dose of this original brand of storytelling. 'Chelm: The Smartest Place on Earth' is a perfect pairing of comedy and satire, and no one does that combination better than Sacha, Greg, Mike, and Michael," said Amy Friedman, head of kids & family programming, Warner Bros. "This unique project will breathe new, hysterical life into the nonsensical Chelmic wisdom that originated from this imaginary city of folks who aren't quite the sharpest tools in the shed." Cohen, Daniels, and Judge are developing the story with Michael Koman, who is also attached to write. The four will executive produce the special, alongside Bandera's President Dustin Davis.