George Lopez is returning to the family sitcom genre. I’ve learned that Lopez, star, co-creator and executive producer of multi-camera sitcom George Lopez, which ran on ABC for six seasons and 120 episodes, has closed a deal in principal with Lionsgate TV subsidiary Debmar-Mercury to co-create and star in a new multi-camera comedy about a Latino family. Lopez will executive produce the series with his manager, 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg.
Upon finalizing the deal, Lopez and Debmar-Mercury, who both declined comment, are expected to begin a search for a showrunner. The project will be developed and produced under Debmar-Mercury’s 10-90 model, in which the company sells sitcoms to cable networks with an initial 10-episode straight-to-series order, which, if meeting a ratings target, triggers a multi-season order as big as 90 episodes. The goal is for Debmar-Mercury to quickly amass enough episodes for the sitcom’s launch in broadcast syndication, area where Lopez has been successful. While never a major hit in its original run on ABC, George Lopez has enjoyed a strong afterlife in syndication. A decade after its ABC premiere, the show continues to do well in primetime on cable, Nick at Nite and a Spanish-language version on MTV’s Tr3s, and in the afternoon in broadcast syndication. The George Lopez sitcom follows in the footsteps of Debmar-Mercury’s previous successes under its model, all minority family sitcoms: Tyler Perry’s House Of Payne and Meet The Browns and Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet?. All three went beyond the initial 10-episode orders on TBS, with the first already above the syndication threshold. Debmar-Mercury’s first non-ethnic sitcom, the upcoming Charlie Sheen comedy series Anger Management for FX, is written/executive produced by Bruce Helford, who co-created and ran George Lopez. Just like Sheen does on Anger Management, CAA-repped Lopez is expected to have ownership in his show. He most recently hosted a late-night talk show on TBS.