UPDATED: It’s a big comedy pilot pickup day at NBC. The network just picked up 4 half-hour pilots, including two multicamera sitcoms based on the comedy of two edgy, good-looking female comedians, Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings, one written by Peter Tolan and one written by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith and produced by Jack Black.
Handler’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea is a multicamera comedy inspired by latenight star’s autobiographical book of the same name about her life in her 20s. The project, written and executive produced by Dharma & Greg co-creator Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson, centers on a 20-something woman who has a very honest and provocative point of view on dating, friends and family. Vodka, from Warner Bros. TV and Werner Entertainment, was developed at NBC after landing at the network in a competitive situation with a put pilot commitment in November. Handler, who won’t be starring in the comedy, is executive producing with her producing partner at Borderline Amazing Prods. Tom Brunelle, Werner Entertainment’s Werner and Mike Clements. The casting on the project promises to be interesting, looking for a 20-something Handler. In addition to Vodka, Zicklin has another comedy project in contention at Fox.
The untitled multicamera Whitney Cummings project, from UMS and Scott Stuber Prods., will star Cummings. It focuses on a young couple and the ups and downs of a committed relationship in today’s complicated world. Cummings wrote the script and is co-executive producing, with Stuber, Quan Phung and Barry Katz exec producing. Additionally, Cummings has Two Broke Girls, a pilot at CBS, which she wrote and es exec producing with Michael Patrick King.
The single-camera Brave New World, from Sony Pictures TV and Peter Tolan’s Fedora Entertainment, is a workplace comedy that follows a group of unusual characters at Pilgrim Village, a theme park that specializes in recreations of New England in 1637. Tolan wrote the script and is exec producing with producing partner Michael Wimer. This is the second pilot order in as many days for Tolan whose comedy The Council of Dads got the green light at Fox yesterday. Word is that neither of them is in first position.
The single-camera My Life As An Experiment, from Sony TV, Reveille and Jack Black’s Electric Dynamite, is based on the book by A.J. Jacobs and centers on a magazine writer who immerses himself (and his family) in unusual situations for his stories which always reflect back on his marriage. Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith wrote the script and are exec producing with Jack Black, Carolyn Bernstein, Howard Owens, Ben Cooley and Priyanka Mattoo.
Despite going through a leadership transition, NBC has been very aggressive on the pilot pickup front with a whopping 11 pilots already ordered. Interestingly, only one of them, the untitled Whitney Cummings, is from NBC sister studio UMS. Three – Wonder Woman, A Mann’s World and Vodka – are from Warner Bros., three – Playboy, S.I.L.A. and I Hate That I Love You from 20th TV – and three, 17th Precinct, Brave New World and My Life As an Experiment – from Sony. One of the Friday pilot pickups, Smash, which DreamWorks TV originally developed with Greenblatt at Showtime, will now be a co-production with UMS via layoff.