We broke the news on Saturday that TBS was in talks to pick up ABC’s comedy series Cougar Town. As we projected on Sunday, the negotiations reached a successful conclusion, and the cable network just announced the pickup. There are no details on the order but I had heard that TBS and Cougar Town producer ABC Studios were targeting a 15-episode one. TBS today announced a fourth-season pickup for Cougar Town to premiere in early 2013, though I hear the studio has the cast locked in for another season after that, so a fifth season could be in the cards too, bringing the series to comfortable syndicatable levels. It is not clear who will run the series next season as co-creator/showrunner Bill Lawrence is expected to segue into his Warner Bros. TV overall deal full-time. In addition to ordering new episodes, TBS has acquired the rights to Cougar Town‘s first three seasons of 61 episodes that originally aired on ABC. While never a hit, the series starring Courteney Cox has enjoyed a devoted following by a core group of passionate fans. TBS’ pickup of Cougar Town complicates things for two pilots, CBS’ untitled Louis CK/Spike Feresten project and NBC’s Kari Lizer project, both of which star Cougar Town cast members in second position, Dan Byrd and Josh Hopkins, respectively. (Chances for the latter appear very slim at NBC.) This is the second consecutive Bill Lawrence comedy to switch networks, following Scrubs‘ jump to ABC following its 2008 cancellation by NBC. Lawrence co-created Cougar Town with Kevin Biegel. Turner previously picked up another broadcast series, NBC drama Southland, which was recently renewed for a fifth season by TNT. Additionally, TBS brought in Conan O’Brien for a late-night show after his exit from NBC. Here is more from TBS’ release:
“Cougar Town is a smart, whimsical sitcom that draws its humor from likable, relatable characters” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies. “We are thrilled to have Cougar Town moving to the TBS neighborhood as the network continues to expand its slate of original comedy series.”
In Cougar Town, Cox stars as Jules Cobb, a recently divorced mom struggling with the challenges and pitfalls that come with a new chapter in her life. Jules spends much of her time enjoying wine with her group of friends known as the “cul de sac crew.” They include her under-achieving ex-husband, Bobby (Brian Van Holt); next-door neighbor and confidante Ellie (Christa Miller); Ellie’s loveably average husband, Andy (Ian Gomez); Jules’ fiancé and neighbor, Grayson (Josh Hopkins); and Jules’ feisty protégé, Laurie (Busy Philipps). Meanwhile, Jules’ college-student son, Travis (Dan Byrd), often proves himself more adult than anyone in the group.
Cougar Town was co-created by executive producer/writer/director Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Spin City) and executive producer/writer Kevin Biegel (Scrubs). Courteney Cox and David Arquette also serve as executive producers. Cougar Town is produced by ABC Studios.
Cougar Town is the latest project to join TBS’s ever-growing slate of original series. The lineup also includes the May 24 debut of the new buddy comedy series Men at Work, starring Danny Masterson, James Lesure, Michael Cassidy, Adam Busch and Meredith Hagner. In July, TBS will launch Sullivan & Son, a new sitcom starring comedian Steve Byrne and executive-produced by Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Rob Long. This year will also include the debut of Wedding Band, a new scripted comedy series starring Brian Austin Green, Harold Perrineau, Peter Cambor, Derek Miller, Melora Hardin, Jenny Wade and Kathryn Fiore. TBS will set out to crown the ultimate nerd in the reality-competition series King of the Nerds (working title), hosted by Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong.