"Better Call Saul" star is at work on a potential...

 "Better Call Saul" star is at work on a potential new series for AMC in which he plays a dissatisfied college professor. Credit: Getty Images for AMC / Jesse Grant

AMC says it is fast-tracking development of "Straight Man," a potential new series headlining "Better Call Saul" star Bob Odenkirk.

The basic-cable network announced Wednesday that Emmy Award winner Odenkirk will play William Henry Devereaux Jr., the unlikely chairman of the English department in a badly underfunded college in Pennsylvania's Rust Belt, who is undergoing a midlife crisis. Based on the same-name novel by 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo ("Empire Falls”), it is being adapted by Aaron Zelman and Paul Lieberstein ("The Office").

"I loved Paul and Aaron's take on Richard's excellent, entertaining novel," said Odenkirk, 59, in a statement. "Once again a project with AMC with a focus on character depth and sensitivity. This milieu (academia) seems very pertinent to the conversations we're all having. I am drawn to the tone of humanity and humor in the novel and I look forward to playing this role — something lighter than my recent projects but still closely observed and smart."

The series, if picked up, would air next year. The sixth and final season of "Better Call Saul" premieres April 18.

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