Officially let go from Saturday Night Live earlier this week, Jay Pharoah and Taran Killam have already secured new (potentially) steady gigs. They have each landed lead roles in separate forthcoming Showtime pilots, Variety reports.
Pharoah will star in White Famous from executive producer Jamie Foxx. The half-hour comedy follows a rising black comedian (Pharoah) as he struggles to hold on to his authenticity while gaining significant popularity, crossing over into “white famous.” The series is semi-based on Foxx’s own life, and he will appear in a role on the show regularly, given it is picked up.
Killam has also been tapped for a half-hour comedy. Mating comes from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood’s Jason Katims and Stu Zicherman, also of Parenthood. Variety earlier reported that the show could take anthology cues from True Detective and Fargo, and focus on a different protagonist each season. For the pilot and potential season, Killam will play a recent divorcee, having married young and now dealing with the modern world’s dating rules, or lack thereof.
Showtime revealed today that the pilot deals with both actors have been in the works, and that they were planning to work around their SNL schedules, or even put the projects on hold until their seven-year contracts were up (which would have been at the end of this coming SNL season).
“Our conversations had been with the actors,” said David Nevins, Showtime president and CEO. “It’s been happening over the past several weeks, probably a month. Our scheduling just got easier when they ended up getting released from the show.”
Earlier this week Killam said he was surprised his SNL contract hadn’t been renewed, but that it felt “like an appropriate time [to leave].” There has been little response from Pharoah, but both actors have made known their respective excitement for the new Showtime ventures on Twitter. See the statements from Killam and Pharoah below.