Bob Odenkirk is going back to school — and sticking with AMC.
The Better Call Saul star is set to play the lead role in Straight Man, a dramedy that is in fast-track development at the cable network, TVLine has learned. Based on the novel by Richard Russo, Straight Man is a “mid-life crisis tale” that takes place on a fictional college campus in the Pennsylvania Rust Belt. Odenkirk will play William Henry Devereaux Jr., the unlikely chairman of the college’s English department. Aaron Zelman (Damages) and Paul Lieberstein (The Office) will adapt the book and serve as co-showrunners.
UPDATE: AMC ordered Straight Man to series on April 21. Season 1, which will consist of eight episodes, will bow on AMC and AMC+ in 2023.
“I loved Paul and Aaron’s take on Richard’s excellent, entertaining novel,” Odenkirk said in a statement. “Once again a project with AMC with a focus on character depth and sensitivity. This milieu (academia) seems very pertinent to the conversations we’re all having. I am drawn to the tone of humanity and humor in the novel, and I look forward to playing this role — something lighter than my recent projects, but still closely observed and smart.”
This would mark Odenkirk’s third series with AMC: He joined the cast of Breaking Bad in its second season as shady attorney Saul Goodman, then went on to reprise the role in the spinoff Better Call Saul, earning four Emmy nominations for lead actor in a drama series. Saul begins its sixth and final season later this month on AMC.
Along with Straight Man, AMC Networks also announced on Wednesday they’ve ordered a spinoff of Orphan Black, entitled Orphan Black: Echoes and set to premiere next year.