Showtime, Film Roman Locked in Free For All

Showtime Networks and Emmy-winning animation studio Film Roman (The Simpsons, King of the Hill) have teamed to produce an animated series based on Brett Merhar’s cult comic strip Free For All. The seven-episode show is slated to premiere in Summer 2003.

Heading up the celebrity voice cast are Jonathan Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s, Showtime’s Deacons For Defense), Jeremy Piven (Old School, Serendipity,) Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear, Natural Born Killers), Mitzi McCall (Ice Age, The Flintstones Comedy Hour) and Sam McMurray (Sunshine State, Showtime’s upcoming Stealing Sinatra).

The series will revolve around cynical, dysfunctional best friends Johnny (Silverman) and Clay (Piven). Unlike Clay, who won a multi-million dollar lawsuit after slipping and falling in a restaurant, Johnny is still living at with his parents at home, where he must dodge his grandmother’s attempts to get him killed or arrested so she can move out of the basement and into his bedroom. Thrown into the mix is a strung-out ferret sidekick named Angus.

Free For All is co-written and executive produced by Merriwether Williams, who served as head writer on Nickelodeon’s Spongebob SquarePants for more than three years. Strip creator Merhar will also serve as co-writer and executive producer. John Hyde, president and CEO of Film Roman, will serve as exec. producer with co-executive producer Richard Hull. Showtime’s Beth J. Greenwald will take on creative executive duties.

The Free For All comic strip has been syndicated in more than 75 newspapers nationwide since its launch in April 1998.