News / TV

This month in TV development

“Pilot Season” begins in earnest in January, so we’re in the home stretch for ordering scripts and sealing deals from the broadcast networks for potential new series in 2019-2020.

We do know one sure thing for summer 2019, a sitcom starring Lake Bell, which had been in the works at FOX but will go ahead at ABC. Bless This Mess, a new single-cam co-created by Bell with Elizabeth Meriwether, will feature Bell and Dax Shepard as newlyweds who leave the big city for a simpler life in Nebraska that doesn’t turn out so simple.

Comedy Central also will premiere new series in 2019 starring Awkwafina and Rory Scovel, separately.

Here’s what else is cooking this holiday development season…


Schooled, a spinoff of the network’s hit The Goldbergs, will premiere Jan. 9 and air 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays behind The Goldbergs. American Housewife will relocate to 8 p.m. Tuesdays in the spot vacated by The Conners. Schooled, set in 1990-something, follows the faculty of William Penn Academy, led by new music teacher and WP graduate Lainey Lewis (AJ Michalka), Principal Glascott (Tim Meadows), Coach Mellor (Bryan Callen) and young, enthusiastic super-teacher Charlie Brown, or CB for short (Brett Dier)

An untitled single-cam blue-collar family comedy is in development from writer Paul McLalin, Lee Eisenberg, Ruben Fleischer and David Bernad’s The District and ABC Studios. It focuses on a blue-collar family in Kalamazoo, Mich., adjusting after the patriarch gets laid off from the local manufacturing plant by his son.

Pushover, from Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters and ABC Studios, stars a woman who has been “nice” all her life and decides to become a villain, with the help of her landlord, the office custodian, and the IT department. The duo previously created Kevin (Probably) Saves The World.

The Long Game, a single-cam family comedy from writer Chadd Gindin, director Randall Einhorn and ABC Studios, follows a family of scam artists led by Loni — who, 16 years into being a mother, decides it’s time for her to be a good one.

Happy Accident, a single-cam from Modern Family writers Abraham Higginbotham and Jon Pollack, 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios, has a pilot production commitment. It centers around two Pittsburgh families — a father with three adult daughters, and a hotel lounge singer with her med student son — who are forced together after a decades-old secret is revealed.


You may have seen ads for new sitcom Fam, which premieres Thursday, Jan. 10 at 9:30 p.m. It stars Nina Dobrev and Tone Bell a woman whose vision of a perfect life with her adoring fiancé and his wonderful parents is radically altered when her 16-year-old, out-of-control half-sister unexpectedly comes to live with her. Odessa Adlon, Brian Stokes Mitchell and Sheryl Lee Ralph also star. It’ll start along with the return of Man with a Plan, which stars Matt LeBlanc.

Meanwhile, no word on the new season of critically-beloved Life in Pieces.

Rachet, a multi-cam from Natasha Leggero and Morgan Murphy, would star Leggero as Jessica Rachet, who must start a new life and make new friends after her rich fiancé dies suddenly and leaves her to fend for herself. Murphy and Leggero executive produce with 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg for 3 Arts, and Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ Jon Liebman, Marc Gurvitz, and Geoff Cheddy. 3 Arts and Brillstein Entertainment Partners produce with CBS TV Studios.

America, U.S.A., a single-cam from Michael Kramer and Lilli Birdsell, with Alex Reid and CBS TV Studios, about a young workplace ensemble set at a Colonial-times theme park based loosely on living-history museum Colonial Williamsburg,

Comedy Central

Two new series come in for 2019, while two head out the door.

No more Another Period or Detroiters. Another Period wrapped its third season in March, starring Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome with Michael Ian Black, Jason Ritter, Beth Dover, David Koechner, David Wain, Christina Hendricks, Brett Gelman, and more. Detroiters ended after two seasons, starring Sam Richardson and Tim Robinson as ad execs in Detroit.

Meanwhile, the network ordered 10 episodes of Awkwafina and eight episodes of Robbie. 

Written by Awkwafina, Karey Dornetto (SMILF) and Teresa Hsiao (Family Guy) and directed by Lucia Aniello (Broad City), Awkwafina stars the writer, actor and rapper as a twenty-something living in Queens, striving for a larger than life existence while living with her father and grandmother. BD Wong and Lori Tan Chinn also star. Awkwafina executive produces with Dornetto, Aniello, Karey Dornetto, Peter Principato and Itay Reiss of Artists First. Hsiao is co-executive producer.

Written by Scovel and Anthony King, Robbie stars Scovel as a small town church league basketball coach living in his father’s shadow, until he realizes he has a son of his own who can lead him to greatness. Newly cast are Beau Bridges as Robbie’s father, Sasheer Zamata and Mary Holland. Scovel, King, and Scott Moran are executive producers. Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Betsy Koch and Owen Burke executive produce for Gary Sanchez Productions. Payman Benz directed the pilot.


E! is expanding its 10 o’clock block with new nightly unscripted comedy series Dating #NoFilter, premiering Jan. 21, 2019, at 10:30 p.m Eastern/Pacific. It’ll air for at least five weeks, Mondays-Thursdays (20 episodes total), with three pairs of stand-up comedians delivering play-by-play commentary on actual first dates. The comedians? Biniam “Ben” Bizuneh, Cara Connors, Rocky Dale Davis, Kelsey Darragh, Ben Evans and Zach Noe Towers. Also starring E!’s Nina Parker.

Facebook Watch

Facebook has renewed four original series for second seasons on its Facebook Watch platform, which it says has at least 400 million monthly users. They define a user as some who spends at least one minute checking out videos. So there’s that. Facebook also has a new talk show from Jada Pinkett Smith, Red Table Talk, the interactive game show Confetti and the planned return of MTV’s The Real World.

Returning shows: Huda Boss, following the life of beauty blogger-turned-entrepreneur Huda Kattan; Five Points, Kerry Washington’s high school drama series set in Chicago; Sacred Lies, inspired by the young-adult novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, and Sorry for Your Loss, a dark comedy exploring the life of a young widow starring Elizabeth Olsen.


Adapted, a real-life-inspired multi-cultural single-cam, from The Last O.G. co-executive producers Mary Fitzgerald, Arthur Harris and Angela Nissel, Jeff Gaspin and his Gaspin Media, Mark Kassen’s Like Minded Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV. Based on a real-life story, Adapted follows 14-year-old Alex, who, after refusing to move from Las Vegas to Philadelphia so that his neglectful mother can re-marry yet again, convinces his African American neighbors to adopt him. Omar Dzlieri, who inspired the project, serves as a consultant.

Eight, a single-cam from Alison Bennett, Rob Rosell and 20th Century Fox TV, about children of divorce Jillian and Trevor attempting to carve out their own family’s identity, with eight grandparents there to offer eight million different opinions. Bennett and Rosell executive produce. 20th Century Fox TV is the studio.

Sunny D, a single-cam inspired by Dane Baptiste’s BBC series of the same name, has a script commitment with penalty. From Saladin K. Patterson, Keenen Ivory Wayans, The Tannenbaum Company, Lionsgate TV and BBC Studios. Written by Patterson and Wayans with Wayans set to direct, the adaptation centers on Dane, a 30-year-old who is creative, erudite and in touch with his feelings.


Freeform has ordered 10 episodes of Everything’s Gonna Be Okay from Please Like Me creator, writer and comedian Josh Thomas, and produced by Avalon Television and Freeform. Thomas stars as neurotic 25-year-old Nicholas still living at home with his single dad and two teenage half-sisters, one of which has autism. When their dad becomes terminally ill, the girls have to cope with not only a devastating loss but also the realization that Nicholas is the one who will have to hold it all together.


Sugar and Toys, from Carl Jones and Brian Ash will be the first adult-animation title on Fuse. It is described by the network as “a wild new twist on the Saturday morning cartoons we all grew up with — but a whole lot less innocent.” The half-hour comedy sends up toy commercials and PSAs, tackling a range of social issues and featuring bookended host segments with rapper and actor Kyle. Along with Jones and Ash, Aengus James and Colin King Miller are executive producers. Kyle Harvey is Co-Executive Producer and Lalo Alcaraz is Consulting Producer. This is Just a Test and 245 Enterprises are producers.


Insecure‘s Natasha Rothwell has signed an overall deal with HBO, for which she is developing an original idea for HBO to executive produce, write and star.

Exit Plans, from Timothy Simons, who also stars, and Will Graham (Mozart in the Jungle) via his Field Trip Productions. Written, starring and executive produced by Simons, Exit Plans centers around assisted suicide. When assisted suicide is legalized in 2019, a man from California opens a small business helping people transition into death peacefully while struggling to keep ahold of his crumbling personal life.

Special Skills hosted by SNL alum Jay Pharoah, and Unmade, featuring comedians including Nick Cannon, Tig Notaro, Rainn Wilson, Weird Al, Reggie Watts, will both appear on the website. Both are produced by Electus’ Big Breakfast and are set to launch in early 2019.

Co-created by Luke Kelly-Clyne and Steve Marovitch, each five-to-eight-minute episode of UnMade will allow a celebrity guest the chance to make that early project they never sold before. UnMade guest stars include Nick Cannon, Rainn Wilson, Tig Notaro, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Paul Rust, Jay Chandrasekhar, Reggie Watts, Bobby Moynihan, Kristen Schaal and others.

In Special Skills, Pharoah is on a mission to beef up the “special skills” section of his résumé, with the help of some famous friends.


Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, the long-running NPR quiz show, is getting adapted as an hourlong TV series by NBCUniversal. Same show, not yet certain who’ll host the TV version.

A department store multi-cam starring and co-written by comedian Brent Morin, with writer Matt Hausfater, from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer production company.

Save the Deli, based on David Sax’s book of the same name, from writer Lauren Bachelis, Milo Ventimiglia and Russ Cundiff’s DiVide Pictures and 20th Century Fox TV. It’s a family workplace comedy centering on a 30-year-old woman, who much to the shock of her family, friends and mostly herself, becomes the new owner of her Chicago family deli after her grandfather dies. Based not only on the book but also on Bachelis’ personal experiences. Her grandfather owned Mort’s, the Jewish deli in Tarzana, Calif.


Showtime has set Feb. 21, 2019, as the premiere date for Desus & Mero, its first weekly late-night show starring Desus Nice and The Kid Mero. 


Strange Times, based on Tom DeLonge’s graphic novel and book series, is being development as a possible animated series, with DeLonge set to executive produce. Aaron Karo writing the adaptation, about five dirty teenage skateboarders who solve paranormal mysteries while being chased by Deep State government agents. Karo executive produces with DeLonge, The Cartel’s Stan Spry and Jeff Holland and Striker Entertainment’s Russell Binder.

The CW

A potential spin-off to Jane the Virgin, an anthology series that would feature a different book “written by” Jane every season, with star Gina Rodriguez narrating the episodes. Valentina Garza and Brad Silberling will write and direct, respectively, with creator Jennie Snyder Urman, Rodriguez and Ben Silverman on board as executive producers.

Good Christian Bitches, an ensemble dramedy inspired by Kim Gatlin’s book, is getting another chance. ABC tried it during 2010-2011 as GCB. Leila Cohan-Miccio will write this adaptation, produced by Darren Star, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, CBS TV Studios and ABC Studios. It’s about the clergy and parishioners of Flock, a hip church plant in Austin where prayers and worship music cover up a multitude of sins and secrets.

Super Clean, a dramedy based on the upcoming graphic novel SuperCLEAN, from Sascha Rothchild and CBS TV Studios. About a human and her ragtag team. Rothchild executive produces with John Baldecchi, Doug Barry and Amodio.

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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