New YouTube Premium series 'Champaign Ill' raising local eyebrows


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CHAMPAIGN — A 10-episode TV series titled "Champaign Ill" — and set in a fictitious version of the local community — is scheduled to premiere next month on YouTube Premium.

Judging by its premise, the series, announced in an expletive-filled trailer and filmed in Atlanta, may not be very flattering for Champaign.

Stars Adam Pally ("Happy Endings," "The Mindy Project") and Sam Richardson ("Veep") portray members of a thriving rap crew who lose it all when compatriot Jay Pharoah ("Saturday Night Live") unexpectedly dies.

"Without their homie, their celebrity wanes and hilarity ensues. The remaining members are forced to go back home to their less-than-glamorous former lifestyles," according to press materials for the show.

Champaign is that "less-than-glamorous" home, the trailer reveals, though it's unknown whether the depiction will be insulting, funny or good P.R. for a city known for high-tech industry, a thriving music scene and low unemployment.

Mayor Deb Feinen said the trailer didn't tell her much about the show.

"Nothing about it identifies it as Champaign. It could be about redemption; I don't know," she said.

The series' executive producers include "Happy Endings" creator David Caspe, who grew up in Chicago, as well as Daniel Libman, Matthew Libman and Jordan Cahan.

The show, available for viewing exclusively online via the YouTube Premium subscription service, will be released Dec. 12.

Champaign-Urbana has been previously referenced in such films as "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "Some Like It Hot," among others.