Mark loves a spin-of f
SKETCH comedy series The Wedge wasn’t what you’d call a hit with either critics or viewers.
It had a talented cast— including Jason Gann, Adam Zwar, Rebel Wilson, Cal Wilson and Damian Callinan— but it wasn’t up to Fast Forward standard.
Its second series was delayed and then relegated to a graveyard Sunday slot before being axed.
Troubled sports star Mark Wary was The Wedge’s most popular character, prompting its creator, Jason Gann, to develop a Mark Wary spin-off.
The resulting sitcom, Mark Loves Sharon, was a modest rater for Channel 10 early this year. There’s no question, however, that Mark Loves Sharon’s prospects were hurt by the generally poor audience response to the last season of The Wedge.
In the sitcom spin-off, Gann kept Wary’s manager Jerry Dabelstein (Dailan Evans) and introduced girlfriend Sharon Metcalf (Abby Meates), as well as her friends Chrystal and Beth (Kylie Gulliver and Saskia Hampele) and Wary’s offsiders Sledge and Tomo (ShaunAngus Hall and Tim O’Dwyer).
‘‘ The Wedge had a lot of fans, but it also had its fair share of detractors,’’ Gann says.
‘‘(Because of that) there were a fair few people bagging the show ( Mark Loves Sharon) before they’d seen it, but I just had to have faith that it was going to be good and that I could turn those people around.
‘‘The character was one I wanted to know more about. In the second series of The Wedge I took him away from the press conference situation by having him going to jail and to rehab.
‘‘I found myself starting to care for Mark and wanting to know more, but he just seemed to be jammed between disposable sketches. I really wanted to show the truth of this guy.’’
Gann says he is developing two new shows, but it is the opportunity to make a second series of Mark Loves Sharon that is at the top of his list.
‘‘We really need to do at least another six episodes to tell the rest of Mark’s story. The show has been embraced by a lot of people. Look at shows like Seinfeld. It took about three seasons before it really found its audience,’’ he says.
The creators of Kath & Kim were able to sell the international rights to their comic creation and Gann is hoping he can do the same with Mark Loves Sharon and Wilfred, the cult SBS comedy in which Gann played a talking dog.
Gann has just returned from the MIPCOM TV festival in Cannes, where he met producers interested in format rights.
‘‘With the worldwide recession, comedy is the order of the day,’’ Gann says.
The first series of Mark Loves Sharon has just been released on DVD and Gann is in negotiations for a second series.
Joke jock: Jason Gann as troubled sports star Mark Wary.