EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Rules Of Engagement‘s strong return last night, the series’ creator Tom Hertz has landed a put pilot commitment from CBS for a new multi-camera comedy. The family show, which had multiple networks bidding, marks a reunion of all auspices behind Rules: Hertz as creator/executive producer, CBS as network and Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Happy Madison as production companies. The untitled comedy is a multi-generational show about family, and how people’s childhoods influence the decisions they make and what they seek as adults. The project stems from a three-year overall deal Hertz signed with Sony TV in June with the goal to focus on development. He continues to run Rules in its current sixth season and is also directing episodes of the show, which has been sold in broadcast syndication for a fall 2012 launch.
Rules, about 2 couples and their single friend played by David Spade, has been an underrated utility player for CBS, bounced around the schedule and often held back as a midseason replacement. After originally scheduled for Saturday nights this season, the veteran comedy was recently given a major time slot upgrade when it was summoned to replace flailing freshman How To Be A Gentleman in the Thursday 8:30 PM berth. In its sixth season premiere last night, Rules (3.6/10, 11.5 million in Live+same day) was up 16% in the demo from last season’s debut in the Monday 8:30 PM slot. Rules significantly outperformed the comedy it replaced, Gentleman, which posted a 2.5/7 in its last Thursday airing. Hertz, repped by WME and manager Cary Hoffman, has been under an overall deal at Sony since 2007. Before creating Rules of Engagement, he served as the showrunner on ABC’s Spin City and CBS’ The King of Queens and created ABC’s Married to the Kellys.