‘The Premise’: B.J. Novak Announces All-Star Cast

B.J. Novak, writer and actor on The Office, is back with a new series for FX on Hulu. The Premise is a comedic anthology of 30-minute episodes that each tell a different story. In the first trailer, Novak revealed the standout cast who will star in different episodes throughout the series. Each cast member will be in just one episode, with the exception of Novak, the host.

B.J. Novak in a tuxedo at the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
B.J. Novak | David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The premise of ‘The Premise’

Novak is the creator and host of The Premise. According to FX, “the curated collection of character-driven episodes challenges our shared morality tales, choosing art over argument, as it engages with the most relevant and meaningful issues of the modern era.” 

By using humor and heart, The Premise aims to address “guns, identity, social justice, sex, capitalism, revenge, love, fame, social media, butt plugs – nothing is off limits.” 

The topics covered by the show border on the absurd. In the first episode, a young man discovers that a highly embarrassing sex tape has evidence of police misconduct in the background. In another, titled “Butt Plug,” a CEO gets revenge on his former bully by having him pitch the titular product to his board of directors. 

Through the unprecedented subject matter, Novak hopes to connect viewers. 

The cast of ‘The Premise’

Per DeadlineThe Premise will feature a number of recognizable faces. The first episode, “Social Justice Sex Tape,” will star Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) as the creator of the sex tape in question. The episode will also star Ayo Edebiri (Big Mouth) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) as a young lawyer and her mentor working to acquit Jermaine Fowler (Coming 2 America).

In the second episode, titled “Moment of Silence,” Jon Bernthal (The Punisher) stars as a father who has lost his daughter to gun violence. He accepts a job at the National Gun Lobby, where he works alongside Boyd Holbrook (Narcos).

“The Ballad of Jesse Wheeler,” the season’s third episode, stars Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) as a pop star returning to his high school. Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart) will feature as a high school student. George Wallace (Batman Forever), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), and Ed Asner (Up) round out the episode’s cast.

“The Commenter” stars Lola Kirke (Gone Girl) as a young woman who receives a negative anonymous comment online. Soko (Her) will star alongside Kirke as her partner.

Finally, in “Butt Plug,” Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) will play one of the richest men in the world. Eric Lange (Escape at Dannemora) will feature alongside him as his childhood bully. 

How to watch the new series

Novak created and wrote The Premise. Though he noted the challenges of making the series, he told Deadline that the project was a fulfilling one.

“It was a nightmare, producing-wise,” said Novak. “But on a writing level, it was a dream come true.”

He’s joined by the writing talents of Jia Tolentino and Josie Duffy Rice. Kitao Sakurai, Darya Zhuk, and Jake Schreier will also join as directors. The first two episodes will air Sept. 16 on FX on Hulu.

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