SoHo Says Hello to Ladies

Sky’s SoHo channel has exclusively secured a new comedy series from Ricky Gervais collaborator Stephen Merchant and the next season of the Matt LeBlanc sensation, Episodes.

It’s picked up Merchant’s Hello Ladies through its alliance with HBO.

He plays a gawky Brit in LA who’s obsessed with finding the woman of his dreams amid the glitz of Tinseltown.

The series is Merchant’s first starring vehicle and doesn’t involve Gervais.

“This was originally born out of my stand-up act, which I also do separate from Ricky,” he told US critics.

“Ricky has actually been in a relationship with Jane, his girlfriend, since he was like 20 — so this whole world as a single man is something he’s never really experienced. It doesn’t feel like a natural fit for him to work on.”

Says Merchant of the character he plays: “He’s just a loser in England who’s a loser here, but even more out of his depth, because his Britishness is even more pronounced and awkward.

“He thinks LA is exotic and full of glamour, which is kind of alien to him. He’s sort of trying to buy into this fantasy and it never quite comes to life for him.”

Merchant hopes to “lure across the pond” British actors for guest spots on Hello Ladies rather than casting celebrity cameos.

“We’ve already done a lot of the celebrity stuff in the past and in this show we’d like to focus on more universal themes and not just about LA.”

Hello Ladies will air 8.30 Thursdays from October 3 on a double-bill with Episodes, the hilarious series in which Matt LeBlanc plays a fictionalised version of himself dealing with two British screenwriter who re-model their hit Britcom around him.

SoHo will screen the first two seasons, which TV One ran off late-night, ahead of premiering season three in 2014.

October also will see the return of Californication and Entourage on a Monday night double-bill: season two of the former will air 9.30 and season four of the latter, 10.00.

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