Maybe See TV? The week in pilots, script commitments and development deals (Aug. 28, 2014)

The Emmys may have celebrated the past year of television, and the new Fall TV series have yet to premiere, but Hollywood always keeps an eye to the future, and August still signifies the start to the following year’s development cycle.

You’ll hear a lot in the trades and the trade winds from now through pilot season, which starts in earnest in January, all the way up to the cable Upfronts in the spring and the broadcast network Upfronts in May — when TV programmers present their new and returning lineups to impress and attract advertisers for 2015-2016.

When a network orders a pilot to series, that’s newsworthy and vital information for you to know. Like FX yesterday greenlighting Baskets, starring Zach Galifianakis and coming from him, Louis C.K. and Jonathan Krisel; it’ll go into production in 2015 with a launch date in 2016. Mark your calendars accordingly.

Everything else is speculation. In fact, that’s what the programming suits do is invest in a speculative market, buying up sitcom ideas and their writers and producers, not only for the prospect that their idea will evolve into a hit series, but also to keep those writers, producers and creators off the market from other networks. The news that a comedian has a script commitment or a development deal is valuable to that comedian and his/her landlord and family and friends, but doesn’t mean much to us as viewers until that deal pays off in the form of a TV series that’s actually on the air. So. Instead of bombarding you with hundreds of separate posts from TV wheeling and dealing, The Comic’s Comic this TV cycle will present a weekly roundup of what’s in the mix for 2015-2016.

This first installment will catch you up on everything that’s happened so far in August.

MAYBE SEE TV? Aug. 28, 2014, edition


Steve Franks (Psych) and Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo have sold DeTour, a single-cam, to FOX from 20th Century Fox TV, with a put pilot commitment. It’s based on Cuomo’s sabbatical from Weezer when he went back to school, at Harvard.


Alec Sulkin (Dads, Family Guy) has sold a multi-cam, All Together Now, to FOX from 20th Century Fox TV with a put pilot commitment. With Julius Sharpe. Based on six twentysomething friends who try to live without their smartphones.


The Bad Stanleys, a multi-cam sold to FOX from 20th Century Fox TV with a put pilot commitment. By Dana Klein, who’s under a deal with 20th, and Aaron Kaplan/Kapital Entertainment. About two competitive adult brothers and their families.


An untitled multi-cam comedy written by Dan Sterling and also produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, from 20th Century Fox TV. It’s about a meek man and a powerful woman who bond and help each other.


An adaptation of the UK’s Channel 4 series, Friday Night Dinner, written by its creator Robert Popper. From Warner Bros. TV (where Popper had a script deal already) and 3 Arts Entertainment.


A multi-cam, Wing Mom, from Kari Lizer (New Adventures of Old Christine). About a divorced mother of adult children who decides they need more dating help than she does. From Warner Bros. TV and Lizer’s Logo Here.


An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth, a multi-cam from Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker (Surviving Jack), based on the memoir of Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield. About what happens after returning from space. From Warner Bros. TV and 3 Arts. Halpern and Schumacker writing the pilot, executive producing with Erwin Stoff and Tom Lassally, and Hadfield consulting.


The Good Life, a multi-cam from Bill Wrubel about a family man who initially thinks everyone else around him is living the dream. From Warner Bros. TV and Wrubel’s Here Comes Scrappy.

PILOT — Comedy Central

@DadBoner, an animated comedy based on the Twitter feed created by stand-up comedian Mike Burns, and also previously produced a book, Power Moves: Livin’ The American Dream, USA Style. Burns and Tim Long are writing the pilot, and executive producing with Avalon’s Kara Baker, Jon Thoday, Richard Allen-Turner and David Martin. Dan Lubetkin is a co-executive producer. Shadow Machine is the animation company.

PILOT — Comedy Central

Potential late-night talker Gettin’ Some Strange with Kurt Braunohler. Braunohler, a stand-up comedian and improviser, just completed a webseries for Comedy Central and also previously hosted the IFC game show, Bunk. He’s executive producing with Scotty Landes and Avalon Management.


Grace Helbig (1.8 million+ YouTube subscribers) stars in a new talk show pilot for E!, produced by Embassy Row. Working title is The Grace Helbig Project.

CASTING — Comedy Central

Cuba Gooding Jr., Michael Madsen and Keith David joined the cast of Big Time in Hollywood, FL, which debuts on Comedy Central in 2015. Gooding will play a version of himself. The cast also includes Kathy Baker, Stephen Tobolowsky, and stars Alex Anfanger and Lenny Jacobsen as two brothers and aspiring filmmakers kicked out of their parents’ house.

SYNDICATION — Stand-up comedian Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) will host Monopoly Millionaires’ Club, a one-hour weekly syndicated game show, from Scientific Games Corp. and participating state lotteries selling the game of same name, which becomes available Oct. 19. Series will debut in 2015. Syndication deal not announced yet.

SYNDICATION — Craig Ferguson staying put? Sort of! He’s negotiating with Tribune Media for a half-hour version of his existing CBS talk show that would air in the 7 p.m. Eastern/Pacific hour, complete with his robot skeleton sidekick, dancing horse and even the same CBS Television City studio. Looking toward Fall 2016 syndication sales.

SCRIPT COMMITMENT (with penalty) — FOX

The Sound of The Sumners, a single-cam musical comedy from Peter Knight and Jason Winer’s Small Dog, and 20th Century Fox TV. With original music.

SCRIPT COMMITMENT (with penalty) — ABC

An untitled single-cam from Greg Garcia and written by Eric Falconer, based on Falconer’s experiences as a TV writer with his family in East L.A. From CBS TV Studios and Amigos de Garcia.


Actor Freddie Highmore and his Bates Motel co-creator, Kerry Ehrin, have sold an untitled romantic comedy to NBC about a female executive in venture capitalism and her young British assistant. Highmore and Ehrin are writing and executive producing.


DJ Nash (Growing Up Fisher) and David Janollari have sold The Catch to NBC. From Universal TV (where both have deals already), about a single guy whose new Greenwich Village apartment comes with a catch: The landlord uses it as a therapist to see clients.


ABC Studios has signed Johnny Knoxville and his Hello Junior! shingle to a two-year first-look deal. First up: An untitled sitcom with penalty, inspired by Knoxville’s upbringing in the South. With Knoxville narrating, as well as executive producing with 3 Arts.


The Brain, a multi-cam from Aaron Kaplan and written/executive-produced by Michelle Morgan, sold to CBS from CBS TV Studios. About a dumb guy who becomes a genius after getting bonked on the head. Complications and hilarity ensue. Kapital Entertainment also producing.


NBC has bought Big Kids, a sitcom idea from Joe Wengert and Ed Helms, based on Wengert’s life. Wengert is writing and co-executive producing but not starring. Claudia Lonow will be showrunner. From Universal TV and Pacific Electric, Helms’ production shingle.


NBC also bought Assisted Loving from Lonow. With fellow producers Aaron Kaplan and Tracy Katsky. Based on the book by Rob Morris about dating at the same time as his 80-year-old father. From Kapital Entertainment and Universal TV.

DEVELOPMENT (with penalty) — NBC

NBC bought a single-cam idea from Hilary Winston about a bro office turned upside down by a new lady boss, inspired by her Playboy column, “When Your Boss Has A Vagina.” Seth Gordon directing for Sony TV.


Lucy Punch has an untitled single-cam set up at FX. Punch, Ant Hines and Casper Christensen will write and executive produce, with Punch starring as an English ex-pat who marries a Death Row inmate to get her Green Card. What happens when the convict gets released instead of killed?


Rabbit Hole, co-created and co-written by Jamie Denbo and Kerri Kenney-Silver, is set in Nevada’s second most-famous brothel. From Borderline Amazing and UCP.


An untitled single-cam from comedy duo Dana & Julia (Faking It), Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov, in which they play versions of themselves — best friends who moved in together after simultaneous breakups.

WRITER DEAL — Julius Sharpe has signed a two-year deal with 20th Century Fox TV. He’s already consulting on Cristela and helped sell a put pilot with Alec Sulkin.

WRITERS HIRED — ABC hired Hunter Covington and Stacy Traub to join a multi-cam project starring Eve, on an idea bought last winter from Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios. Based on Eve’s real life as a rapper who married a man with children from a previous marriage.

NEW SUIT — Dan Shear has recently joined Universal Television as VP Comedy Development, reporting to Tracey Pakosta, EVP, Comedy Development. He will work alongside VP comedy Andy Weil. Shear is segueing to an executive career after a stint an agent. He started in the New York mailroom of the William Morris Agency in 2002. He stayed at WME as a TV lit agent following WMA’s merger with Endeavor and in 2011, he moved to the WME office in Los Angeles.

PITCHING — Maverick TV (Chrisley Knows Best) and Serious Business (@midnight) are shopping a new comedy panel series called #ThrowbackThursday, based on the popular social-media tag.

PITCHING — FremantleMedia North America wants to revive classic game show To Tell The Truth in primetime, and has partnered with Jeff Gaspin and George Moll to shop it to the broadcast networks.


FOX has given up on Cabot College, with cast options expired/expiring on the pilot set in a women’s college and created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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