Welcome to Upfronts Week, when each of the broadcast networks march into New York City to meet with advertisers and present their new fall lineups for primetime and hope that advertisers keep buying 30-second spots for the TV, on the TV.
So, without further ado, here are the synopses and trailers for the new sitcom pilots ordered to series either for Fall 2016 or midseason in early 2017. Congrats to all!
AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE(debuting Fall 2016, 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays ET/PT)
Until recently, opinionated, confident, unapologetic, plump Katie Otto (Katy Mixon) has been the third fattest housewife in Westport, Connecticut. This is exactly where she wants to be. So when her chubbier neighbor moves away and she becomes the second fattest housewife, Katie becomes determined to regain her title. On a mission, she tries to orchestrate a suitable buyer for her neighbor’s house. But things don’t go according to her plans. She lives in this wealthy neighborhood with her adoring and level headed husband, Jeff, who works in public television and their three less-than-perfect kids. The Ottos live in the only remaining split level house – complete with a single car garage – in a cul-de-sac filled with East Coast glamour mansions. Her Lululemon, green-juice loving neighbors with their fake boobs and perfect hair often give her backhanded compliments for being so “real.” Their eldest daughter is 14 year-old Taylor who went through an awkward phase before emerging drop-dead gorgeous. Katie is worried that her daughter will turn into the typical Westport female. Meanwhile, 12 year-old Harrison is a mogul in training; a Republican saving his money to buy Apple stock and refusing to donate canned food for the school food drive… something Katie doesn’t approve of at all. The youngest is sweet yet peculiar 5 year-old Anna-Kat, who is secretly Katie’s favorite. She has multiple phobias, including a fear of germs, but needs to learn that, “Friends are more important than germs.” As Katie navigates raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” mommies and their “perfect” offspring she lets us in on her deepest, most unfiltered thoughts through voice-over in this comedy.
Cast: Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Johnny Sequoyah, Daniel DiMaggio, Julia Butters, Carly Hughes, Ali Wong. Written by Sarah Dunn. Executive Producers: Sarah Dunn and Aaron Kaplan. Produced by ABC Studios.
DOWNWARD DOG (unscheduled)
Martin is a philosopher of sorts and recently a lonely one. The woman he lives with, Nan (Emmy nominated Allison Tolman), just isn’t giving him the attention he needs. Their daily walks are a thing of the past. He has a hard time telling her how he feels, so he has resorted to destroying her favorite boots. He actually chewed them up, because if you haven’t guessed by now, he’s a dog. A lonely, controlling, self-obsessed dog who lets us in on all his thoughts. He tries to set boundaries with Nan to make her feel safe. It has been hard on both of them since she broke up with her boyfriend, Jason (Lucas Neff), a musician, bartender and aging millennial. Now, she spends way too much time at work trying to impress her boss and co-workers, and Martin is left at home too much trying to imagine what could be more important than snuggling on the couch with him. Nan’s not the most organized person, but wants her ideas to be heard at Clark and Bow Outfitters where she’s worked for six years. Co-worker Jenn (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) gives her advice on how to impress the boss, Kevin (Barry Rothbart). After months of hitting a brick wall, Nan is finally making some headway, but in a few short moments Martin ruins everything. Is she really going to have to tell everyone at work that her dog ate her presentation? It’s time for obedience school. As Martin says, “I think Nan just needs things to be kind of spelled out in really obvious ways.” He feels like she’s lost track of what’s really important: him. One session at obedience school already makes them realize that even at their worst, they may be the best thing for each other.
Cast: Allison Tolman, Lucas Neff, Kirby Howell-Baptiste and Barry Rothbart. Written by Michael Killen and Samm Hodges. Executive Producers: Michael Killen, Samm Hodges, Kathy Dubziek, Sam Hansen and Jimmy Miller. Produced by ABC Studios and Legendary Television.
IMAGINARY MARY (unscheduled)
When Alice (Jenna Elfman) was a little girl her family life was… downright crappy. Growing up in a broken home with no siblings, five-year-old Alice was on her own until the day she dreamed up her very own imaginary friend, Mary (Rachel Dratch), a snuggly, fiercely loyal, foul-mouthed creature who would give Alice the love and support she needed. With Mary’s help, shy little Alice grew into a kickass woman who rocks a karaoke mic, runs her own PR firm repping famous athletes and avoids relationships and commitments at all costs. No family life, pudgy husband or mom jeans for Alice, thank you very much. At least that was the plan Mary and Alice had agreed on many years ago, which is why Mary “disappeared” from Alice’s life. But like any imaginary friend, Mary has been lurking in the back of Alice’s mind. And Mary has decided it’s time to come back, because suddenly… the plan is blowing up. If you ask Mary, Alice is now about to throw away EVERYTHING because she has “stupidly” fallen in love with Ben (Stephen Schneider), a good-looking, adorable, quick-witted divorced dad of three: Andy, 16, a kind hearted, outgoing neurotic whose biggest obstacle is himself; Dora, 14, a fan-girl super geek and the toughest nut to crack; and Bunny, 6, sweet and adorable but obsessed with life’s darkest mysteries. So when Alice agrees to finally meet the kids, Mary returns to convince Alice to “dump the chump” and his “annoying” kids – she’s a cuddly badass on a mission. Of course, even though Mary’s looking out for Alice, she’s also giving voice to Alice’s deepest fears that were formed in her less-than-perfect childhood — she won’t be able to make a serious relationship last, she lacks the maternal instincts to be a “mom type person” to Ben’s kids, families only end in disaster. According to Mary, there’s only one option: run! But it doesn’t look like Mary’s misguided efforts, Alice’s lack of mothering experience, or even Ben’s kids can break apart true love. With Ben’s help and the realization that there may be something special – maybe even joyous – about family life after all, Alice is ready to take small steps toward the next stage of her life. But since there is no guarantee that things will work out, Mary has decided she’ll stick around so she can “help” Alice through this transition. And so in series Mary will give voice to the unfiltered, uncensored thoughts we all have about family life from time to time, while we root for Alice and this evolving family to find their way.
Cast: Jenna Elfman, Rachel Dratch, Stephen Schneider, Jillian Bell, Nicholas Coombe, Matreya Scarrwener and Erica Tremblay. Written by David Guarascio and Adam Goldberg. Executive Producers: David Guarascio, Adam Goldberg, Patrick Osborne, Doug Robinson and Shawn Levy. Produced by Sony Pictures Television and ABC Studios.
SPEECHLESS (debuting Fall 2016, 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays ET/PT)
Speechless tells the story of the DiMeo family, a gang who’s pretty good at dealing with the challenges it faces, and absolutely fantastic at creating new ones. At the heart of the action are Maya, a mom on a mission who will do anything for her family, and JJ, her whip-smart teen son with special needs. Maya’s a no-holds-barred fighter of injustices both real and imagined. In her orbit are dry and smarter-than-he-seems husband, Jimmy, her no-nonsense jock daughter, Dylan, and middle child, Ray. Ray’s the lone adult in the family, the voice of reason, the brains of the operation… if you ask him, that is. Our story begins as the family tours a run-down shack the kids learn will be their new home. This move, another in a long list of them in pursuit of the “perfect” situation for JJ, transports them from their middle-class roots to the upscale town next door. The very worst house in the neighborhood, with the freeway noise and cell tower in the yard to prove it. The DiMeos take to the move with gusto; there seems to be something for everyone at the new school. JJ will be assigned a full time aide, giving him independence and a spot in a mainstream class for the first time; for Dylan, there’s a new, gazillion dollar track facility… But world-weary Ray begs Mom and Dad to stay, sure as he is that this move will disappoint just like the dozen others that came before. Ray’s proven right, and quickly. Upon arrival, Maya’s horrified to learn the “perfect” school turns out to have no wheelchair access, save a ramp in the back usually reserved for trash disposal. (“Oh, great! A garbage and my son ramp!”) Throwing gasoline on Maya’s fire is school groundskeeper, Kenneth, the most rare of creatures in Maya’s universe: someone who’s not afraid of her. JJ, too, sours on the place immediately, thanks to the drip of an aide he’s been assigned and a classroom full of self-satisfied fellow students, all too eager to “celebrate” him. For uber-athlete, Dylan, no number of dollars poured into a track can make up for the indignity of a new, touchy-feely coach who goes waaaay too easy on Dylan’s soft new teammates. After one day, all the DiMeos are ready to bail on the place and move on – all of them except Ray, who finds himself on the outs again. He wants – needs – to stay and give the place a shot, drawn by the siren song of the school’s astronomy club and the girl-of-his dreams, Jillian, who counts herself as its sole member. Things come to a head when Ray defies Maya and sneaks out after he takes a stand and demands that the family stay put. For him, for once. JJ finds an unlikely new “voice” in Mom’s adversary, Kenneth. In a way, Ray, in standing up, finds a voice for himself as well. In another far more real way, though, he better never do that again or he’ll be grounded until he’s thirty.
Cast: Minnie Driver, Micah Fowler, Mason Cook, Kyla Kenedy, Cedric Yarbrough. Written by Scott Silveri. Executive Producers: Scott Silveri, Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios.
THE GREAT INDOORS
An adventure reporter (Joel McHale) must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine.
Cast: Joel McHale, Stephen Fry, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Shaun Brown, Christine Ko, Susannah Fielding, Chris Williams. Written by Mike Gibbons. Executive Producers: Mike Gibbons, Chris Harris and Andy Ackerman. Produced by CBS Television Studios.
KEVIN CAN WAIT
A newly retired police officer (Kevin James) looks forward to spending more quality time with his wife (Erinn Hayes) and three kids (Taylor Spreitler) but figures out he faces more challenges at home than he ever did on the streets.
Cast: Kevin James, Erinn Hayes, Taylor Spreitler, Ryan Cartwright, Mary-Charles Jones, James DiGiacomo, Lenny Venito, Gary Valentine, Leonard Earl Howze. Written by Bruce Helford and Rock Reuben. Executive Producers: Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, Jeff Sussman. Produced by CBS Television Studios, Sony Pictures Television, Hey Eddie Productions.
MAN WITH A PLAN
A contractor (Matt LeBlanc) learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife (The Office‘s Jenna Fischer) goes back to work.
Cast: Matt LeBlanc, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Jessica Chaffin, Diana Maria Riva. Written by Jeff and Jackie Filgo. Executive Producers: Jeff and Jackie Filgo, Matt LeBlanc, Michael Rotenberg, Troy Zien, James Burrows. Produced by CBS Television Studios.
SON OF ZORN (debuting Fall 2016, 8:30 p.m. Sundays ET/PT)
Featuring the voice of Jason Sudeikis (THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, “Horrible Bosses,” “We’re the Millers”), SON OF ZORN is a new hybrid live-action/animated comedy about an animated warrior from a faraway island in the Pacific Ocean – where everything and everyone is animated – who returns to Orange County, CA, to win back his live-action ex-wife and teenage son. ZORN (Sudeikis), the Defender of Zephyria, Conqueror of the tribes of Agon, decapitator of the dark herdsmen of Grith, has fought in countless epic battles throughout his life, but may find the greatest challenge of all when travels back to suburbia to reconnect with his family. Once there, Zorn finds himself estranged from his son, ALANGULON or just “Alan” (Johnny Pemberton, “21 Jump Street”), a 17-year-old with a mellow, P.C. attitude; and Alan’s mother, Zorn’s ex-wife, EDIE (Cheryl Hines, “Curb Your Enthusiasm”), a former wild child now living the life of an upper middle class mom. Zorn’s efforts to win them back are complicated by the fact that Edie is now engaged to CRAIG (Tim Meadows, “Saturday Night Live”), an online psychology professor and a stable presence in their lives. Nevertheless, to be a good dad, Zorn commits to remaining in Orange County for the long haul, renting an apartment and even working in the exciting field of industrial soap sales under his boss, LINDA (Artemis Pebdani, “Scandal,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”), who likes his passion, but just wants him to rein it in at the office. As he adjusts to life in the suburbs, Zorn is the classic fish out of water, navigating his way through fatherhood, divorce and a boring office job. Sure, as an overlord of pain, he defeated glombeasts, wolf-bats and bloodthirsty arachnobots, but now he’ll go toe-to-toe with a new set of enemies: meter maids, dress codes and the DMV.
Cast: Jason Sudeikis as Zorn, Johnny Pemberton as Alan, Cheryl Hines as Edie, Tim Meadows as Craig, Artemis Pebdani as Linda. Written by Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne. Executive Producers: Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Seth Cohen, Reed Agnew, Eli Jorne, Sally McKenna, Eric Appel. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
THE MICK (midseason, 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays ET/PT)
THE MICK is a no-holds-barred single-camera comedy that gives new meaning to the phrase “dysfunctional family.” MACKENZIE aka “MICKEY” (Kaitlin Olson, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) is a brash, two-bit hustler from Rhode Island who has spent her entire life shirking any semblance of responsibility. Lacking any drive, but in constant search of the next easy payday, Mickey is not without her charms. She’s smart, she’s fun, and despite all appearances, her head’s always in the game. She just needs a big win. That win kinda, sorta comes true when, looking for a handout, Mickey visits her estranged sister and billionaire brother-in-law in Greenwich, CT, but gets more than she bargained for, as this absurdly rich couple flees the country to escape federal fraud charges. In a surprising turn of events, Mickey must assume guardianship of their three high-maintenance and ill-parented children: SABRINA (Sofia Black D’Elia, “The Messengers,” “Gossip Girl”), an ambitious, 18-going-on-30-year-old who is a worthy adversary to Mickey; CHIP (Thomas Barbusca, “The New Normal,” “Grey’s Anatomy”), 13, an arrogant, entitled neo-con-in-the-making with an extremely punchable face; and BEN (newcomer Jack Stanton), seven, an adorably fragile nerd. The life that Mickey has wanted for so long now is within her reach – the mansion, the convertible, the swimming pool, the walk-in closet full of designer clothes. But as Mickey is well aware, nothing in life is free. The price? Transforming these outrageously spoiled children into honest, hard-working, decent members of society – something this foul-mouthed, debaucherous and completely out-of-her-element woman knows absolutely nothing about. Being a mother was never in Mickey’s game plan, but these kids desperately need a parent. And as irresponsible as Mickey has been her entire life, she may discover that responsibility and motherhood aren’t the buzzkill she always thought they would be.
Cast: Kaitlin Olson as Mackenzie, Sofia Black-D’Elia as Sabrina, Thomas Barbusca as Chip, Jack Stanton as Ben, Carla Jimenez as Alba, Susan Park as Liz. Written by John Chernin, Dave Chernin. Executive Producers: John Chernin, Dave Chernin, Nick Frenkel, Oly Obst, Randall Einhorn. Co-Executive Producer: Kaitlin Olson. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
MAKING HISTORY (midseason, 8:30 p.m. Sundays ET/PT)
Produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“Lego Movie,” “21 Jump Street”), and written by Julius “Goldy” Sharpe (“The Grinder,” FAMILY GUY), the new comedy MAKING HISTORY follows three friends from two different centuries as they try to balance the thrill of time travel with the mundane concerns of their present-day lives. Two shows in one, it’s both a rollicking historical adventure, and a contemporary comedy about love, friendship and trying to fit in to an increasingly complex and impersonal world. DAN CHAMBERS (Adam Pally, “The Mindy Project,” “Happy Endings”), a computer science professor at a small Massachusetts college, recently discovered time travel and has been transporting himself back to the 1700s to spend time with the colonial woman he’s fallen for. In the present, Dan is an unpopular nerd. But by claiming song lyrics, lines from movies and stand-up bits as his own in the 18th century, he’s absolutely hilarious – he gets the girl and makes friends. But Dan’s actions in the past are messing up the present. That woman he’s dating is not just any woman. She’s Paul Revere’s daughter, DEBORAH (Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”), and Dan’s meddling in the past causes her father to delay his famous ride, which may have altered the outcome of the entire American Revolution. To set matters right, Dan enlists the help of his colleague, CHRIS PARISH (Yassir Lester, “Girls,” “Key and Peele”), a brilliant, polished and popular history professor, who’s now given the incredible opportunity to actually live the history he teaches. Can Dan, Chris and Deborah save America as we know it? Can a woman from 1775 adapt to life in 2016? Can the three intrepid time travelers improve the past, help the helpless, fight for justice and get rich?
Cast: Adam Pally as Dan, Leighton Meester as Deborah, Yassir Lester as Chr. Written by Julius “Goldy” Sharpe. Executive Producers: Phil Lord, Chris Miller, Julius “Goldy” Sharpe, Seth Cohen. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television.
THE GOOD PLACE (Fall 2016, 8:30 p.m. Thursdays ET/PT)
From Michael Schur, executive producer of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office,” comes a smart, unique new comedy that follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who, through an extraordinary string of events, enters the afterlife where she comes to realize that she hasn’t been a very good person. With the help of her wise newfound afterlife mentor (Ted Danson, “Bored to Death,” “Cheers”), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and discover the awesome (or at least the pretty good) person within. Directed by Drew Goddard, the Oscar-nominated writer of “The Martian.”
Cast: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden. Written by Michael Schur. Executive Producers: Michael Schur, David Miner. Produced by Universal Television, Fremulon, 3 Arts.
GREAT NEWS (midseason unscheduled)
— Great News (@nbcgreatnews) May 13, 2016
Getting along with some colleagues can be rough, but working with your mom? That’s a whole other story. When Katie, an up-and-coming news producer, finds out her overbearing mom (Andrea Martin, “SCTV,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) has rejoined the workforce as an intern at the station where Katie works, it might just be the worst news ever. But, with her biggest cheerleader at her side, Katie might finally get the recognition she deserves. The laughs hit close to home in this new office comedy from executive producers Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and the producers of “30 Rock.” Inspired by the life of Tracey Wigfield.
Cast: Briga Heelan, Andrea Martin, Adam Campbell, Kimrie Lewis-Davis, John Michael Higgins and Horatio Sanz. Written by Tracey Wigfield. Executive Producers: Tracey Wigfield, Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and David Miner. Produced by Universal Television, Little Stranger and 3 Arts Entertainment.
MARLON (midseason unscheduled)
— Marlon (@NBCMarlon) May 13, 2016
Loosely inspired by the real life of star Marlon Wayans (“In Living Color,” “Scary Movie”), this update to the classic family comedy centers on a loving (but immature) father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his very-together ex-wife. While his misguided fatherly advice, unstoppable larger-than-life personality and unpredictable Internet superstardom might get in the way sometimes, for Marlon family really always does come first – even if he’s the biggest kid of all.
Cast: Marlon Wayans, Essence Atkins, Notlim Taylor, Amir O’Neil, Bresha Webb and Diallo Riddle. Written by Christopher Moynihan. Executive Producers: Christopher Moynihan, Marlon Wayans, Rick Alvarez, Michael Rotenberg and Andy Ackerman. Produced by Universal Television, Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Bicycle Path Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.
POWERLESS (midseason unscheduled)
— Powerless (@NBCPowerless) May 15, 2016
In the first comedy series set in the universe of DC Comics, Vanessa Hudgens (“Grease Live,” “High School Musical”) plays Emily, a spunky young insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes. It’s when she stands up to one of these larger-than-life figures (after an epic battle messes with her commute) that she accidentally becomes a cult “hero” in her own right … even if it’s just to her group of lovably quirky co-workers. Now, while she navigates her normal, everyday life against an explosive backdrop, Emily might just discover that being a hero doesn’t always require superpowers.
Cast: Vanessa Hudgens, Alan Tudyk, Danny Pudi and Christina Kirk. Written by Ben Queen. Executive Producers: Ben Queen and Michael Patrick Jann. Produced by Warner Bros. Television based on the characters from DC Comics.
TRIAL & ERROR (midseason unscheduled)
In this outrageous fish-out-of-water comedy, bright-eyed New York lawyer Josh Segal heads to a tiny Southern town for his first big case. His mission? To defend an eccentric, “rollercizing” poetry professor (John Lithgow, “3rd Rock From the Sun”) accused of the bizarre murder of his beloved wife. Settling into his makeshift office behind a taxidermy shop and meeting his quirky team of local misfits, Josh suspects that winning his first big case will not be easy, especially when his client is always making himself look guilty. “Making a Murderer” can be funny!
Cast: John Lithgow, Nicholas D’Agosto, Jayma Mays, Sherri Shepherd, Steven Boyer and Krysta Rodriguez. Written and executive produced by Jeff Astrof and Matt Miller. Produced by Barge Productions and Good Session Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.