In the spotlight

New television series inspired by Texas Monthly rassles up big-name star

New television series inspired by Texas Monthly rassles up big star

Houston Cinema Arts Festival recap November 2013 Thomas Haden Church_Richard Linklater
Thomas Haden Church, left, will star in The Texanist. Photo by Daniel Ortiz

An Austin-set comedy series inspired by a popular Texas Monthly column is in the works at Fox Entertainment.

Thomas Haden Church, who owns a ranch near Kerrville, has signed up to be the star and executive producer of The Texanist. Since 2007, Dave Courtney has penned the Texanist column for Austin-based Texas Monthly, which answers readers’ queries about everything Texas. Church’s character is aptly named Dave, but he’s not a magazine columnist.

According to DeadlineThe Texanist centers on Dave, “an opinionated Austin-area radio show host who calls ’em like he sees ’em, dispensing advice to Texas natives and newcomers alike on what he knows to be the true Texas Way of life.”

“But the Texas Way is changing, and now Dave’s job is becoming much more complicated,” Deadline adds. “Listening to advice from his wife, family, and co-workers, Dave must now become the arbiter of which changes to embrace and which to reject, possibly opening his mind in the process … just, not that much.”

One question comes to mind after reading that description: Is the Dave character based loosely on a real guy? Could the “opiniated Austin-area radio show host” be patterned after Austin’s own Alex Jones, the conspiracy-theory-dispensing radio host? Or perhaps he’s a radio version of new Austin resident Joe Rogan, a popular and controversial podcaster? 

In reporting on the new series, Texas Monthly appears to be an early fan.

“It’s a fairly faithful adaptation of Dave Courtney’s long-running column, in that it also concerns a guy named Dave who shares his homespun, hard-won wisdom about the Lone Star State with natives and newcomers, while grappling with a Texas landscape that is rapidly changing,” Texas Monthly wrote.

Aside from Church and Courtney, executive producers of The Texanist include Megan Creydt, executive editor of new story platforms at Texas Monthly, and Scott Brown, president of Texas Monthly. Emmy-nominated Cheers alum Rob Long is the writer. No word yet on whether all or part of the show will be shot in Austin.

“I’m a longtime reader of Texas Monthly and a huge fan of … Courtney’s sly and generous column,” Long (a Maryland native, by the way) told Deadline in April. “The Texanist is about facing a changing world and trying to hold fast to the important things while letting the other stuff move with the times. And knowing which is which. Or trying to.”