September doesn’t just mark the start of the new fall TV season. It also heralds the start of broadcast network buying season for potential series they may need come the following fall! It’s an endless circle of money!
The 2019 sitcom shopping season started early on Aug. 17 with CBS giving a put-pilot order to husband-and-wife stand-up comedians Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky.
They’re pitching a multi-cam tentatively titled The Little Things, a sitcom about how parents cope with parenting, in which Segura and Pazsitsky will write, executive produce and star. Scott Marder will write and EP with them; 3 Arts manager Josh Lieberman also gets an EP credit. CBS Television Studios producing.
A put pilot deal, by the way, means the network agrees to not only make a pilot episode, but also to put that pilot on the airwaves. If the network reneges, they pay a penalty. It’s the next best thing to a straight-to-series order.
Maysoon Zayid earned a script commitment from ABC for Can-Can, her single-cam pitch based on her life as a Muslim woman with cerebral palsy. Zayid is co-writing with Joanna Quraishi; they’re executive producing along with Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner. Their Hazy Mills studio, based at Universal TV, is producing. ABC already has one sitcom on the air, Speechless, revolving around a character with palsy.
Kristen Schaal will star in an untitled put pilot sold by Simon Rich (who created FXX’s Man Seeking Woman after previously writing for Saturday Night Live) to ABC. Rich is writing and executive producing this family comedy told from a child’s perspective.
British comedian Tessa Coates, who made waves earlier this year when she brought her 2017 Edinburgh show to Los Angeles, has a put pilot commitment from ABC as well, although she has not yet settled on the premise for her potential sitcom. Coates would star and EP alongside Greg Daniels and Howard Klein from 3 Arts.
Michelle Nader and Morgan Murphy, who both wrote and produced on 2 Broke Girls, have received a put pilot commitment from FOX for Danny Issues, a multi-cam inspired by their relationships with their own fathers. They’ll EP with Danielle Stokdyk in this project from Warner Bros. TV.
Billy Finnegan and Kat Coiro have teams with 20th Century Fox to get a put pilot commitment from FOX for their single-cam, Richard Lovely. The title character writes best-selling kids books but hates kids. Hilarity ensues when he winds up fostering a young lad.
Perhaps the biggest deal of this early shopping season is the Peacock Network’s production commitment to Kenan Thompson for his own starring single-cam, Saving Larry. Thompson holds the record for longest-serving Saturday Night Live cast member, having joined in 2003, and this would give him a very safe path out of SNL next fall. The sitcom would make him a widower taking care of his kids with plenty of advice from his father-in-law. Jackie Clarke is writing and executive producing with Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer. Broadway Video and Universal TV producing.
NBC also has given a script commitment to Late Night’s Seth Meyers and his brother Josh Meyers on their single-cam, The Execeptional, which would star Josh as the accidental president of his homeowners’ association. The brothers are writing and EPing along with Mike Shoemaker (SNL, Late Night), Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley. Universal TV and Shoemeyers Prods. are the studios.
Another NBC script commitment goes to NBA stars Ben Simmons and LeBron James, who are working with Kourtney Kang and her brother, Patrick Kang, on a single-cam idea called Brotherly Love. It’s a based on Simmons’ real-life experiences growing up in an interracial family in Australia. Only the TV family is based in Philadelphia. City of Brotherly Love. Get it?
And finally, or more accurately, so far, NBC also is developing a single-cam from stand-up Dan Levy and his fellow writer/producer from The Goldbergs, Doug Robinson. Their new pitch is called Uninsured, about a young couple who have to raise their two kids and one of their sets of parents when financial problems come home to roost.
Look for more updates in this space as the development season hits full stride before pilot season begins in January.