America's HBO network is to pilot the show Hello Ladies, which expands on the ideas Merchant explored in his only stand-up tour so far, which had the same title.
According to Hollywood trade website Deadline, which broke the news, Merchant stars as a gawky man 'half as charming as he thinks he is — and twice as desperate [and] obsessed with infiltrating the glamorous world of beautiful people. Unfortunately the beautiful people won’t let him in.'
He co-wrote the script with Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky, both of whom wrote and produced on the US version of The Office, the show Merchant originally created with Gervais. They also wrote the hit film Bad Teacher.
HBO has previously been home to Extras, Life's Too Short and the animated Ricky Gervais Show, so Merchant will already be well known to their viewers.