Having just ordered its new drama series for next season, Fox also has made its comedy pickups, ordering four new shows in addition to the previously ordered Dads, executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. They are the Andy Samberg starrer, now titled Brooklyn Nine-Nine; Surviving Jack starring Chris Meloni; Enlisted starring Geoff Stults; and Us And Them starring Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel. All have received 13-episode pickups. Additionally, the order for the Seth Green-Giovanni Ribisi starrer Dads, originally for 6 episodes, has been upped to 13. The new comedies join newly picked-up dramas Rake, Gang Related, Sleepy Hollow, and Almost Human. That is five new comedy series and four dramas, almost double the number of new scripted series Fox picked up last year (three comedies, two dramas). With American Idol on its last legs, the network clearly is stocking up on the scripted side and expanding its push in live-action comedy. Studio-wise, four of the new shows came from Fox sibling 20th TV, two each from Warner Bros and Sony and one from Universal TV.
Fox’s four new half-hour series choices came out of the five half-hour pilots that had been in contention from the get-go. Over the past week or so, the fifth, To My Future Assistant, began to fade as I hear it came in below exceptions. Meanwhile, Surviving Jack (formerly I Suck At Girls) has been steadily rising, buoyed by what I hear were stellar testing results for Meloni. The former Law & Order: SVU star originally turned down the project, and it took a lot of effort on the part of the producers to get him to do it. It was all worth it as the actor helped secure the pilot a series pickup. Also playing in the pilot’s favor is the fact that Surviving Jack comes from veteran comedy showrunner Bill Lawrence. It is shaping up to be a strong pickup season for Lawrence, whose NBC comedy pilot Undateable also looks very good to get a series order, along with Second Floor on TBS. Fun fact: Fox is reuniting Cougar Town co-creators Lawrence and Kevin Biegel, who is behind another newly picked-up comedy series, Enlisted.
With the pickups, Fox has a total of eight new and returning comedy series on tap for next season. Four of them are guy half-hours — cop show Brooklyn Nine-Nine (formerly Schur/Goor), Army comedy Enlisted, Dads and Surviving Jack — and female/family series New Girl, The Mindy Project, Raising Hope and Us And Them. While Us And Them, about a couple navigating their family and friends, would fit seamlessly into Fox’s existing Tuesday comedy block, it is unclear what the network would do with its guy shows, which could stand on their own as a block or get scheduled around Fox’s male-skewing Sunday animated comedies. Fox’s comedy pilots that didn’t make the cut are Assistant, Two Wrongs and The Gabriels. Overall, Fox didn’t throw curve balls in its series orders this season, largely sticking with pilots that had emerged as frontrunners. Here are descriptions of Fox’s new comedy series along with first-glimpse photos:
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From Dan Goor and Michael Schur, the Emmy Award-winning writers/producers of “Parks and Recreation,” and starring Emmy Award winners Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is a single-camera ensemble comedy about what happens when a detective who doesn’t take anything seriously gets a new “by-the-book” boss who wants him to grow up and respect the badge. BROOKLYN NINE-NINE is produced by Universal Television and 3 Arts Entertainment. The series is created and written by Dan Goor (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Parks and Recreation”) and Michael Schur (“The Office,” “Parks and Recreation”). The series is executive-produced by Goor, Schur and David Miner (“30 Rock”). The pilot was directed by the team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller (“21 Jump Street,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”)
DADS – The new live-action, multi-camera comedy from Emmy Award winner Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, the creatively outrageous team behind “Ted” and FOX’s FAMILY GUY, stars Emmy Award winner Seth Green and Emmy Award nominee Giovanni Ribisi as two successful guys – and childhood best friends – whose lives get turned upside down when their pain-in-the-neck patriarchs (Martin Mull and Academy Award and Emmy Award nominee Peter Riegert) move in. DADS is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Fuzzy Door Productions. The series is created and written by Emmy Award-nominated writer/producers Alec Sulkin (“Ted,” FAMILY GUY) and Wellesley Wild (“Ted,” FAMILY GUY), and executive-produced by Seth MacFarlane (“Ted,” FAMILY GUY), Sulkin and Wild. Marc Cendrowski (“The Big Bang Theory”) directed the pilot.
ENLISTED is an irreverent and heartfelt military-set single-camera family comedy starring Geoff Stults that follows three brothers getting to know each other again on a small Florida Army base and the group of misfits who surround them. ENLISTED is produced by 20th Century Fox Television, and written and created by Kevin Biegel (“Cougar Town,” “Scrubs,” “South Park”). The series is executive-produced by Biegel and Mike Royce (“Men of a Certain Age,” “Everybody Loves Raymond”). The pilot was directed by Phil Traill (“Suburgatory,” RAISING HOPE).
US & THEM
Based on the hugely popular and multiple-award-winning BBC 3 series “Gavin and Stacey” and starring Emmy Award nominee Jason Ritter and Alexis Bledel, US & THEM is an ensemble single-camera comedy about a young couple, whose path to happily-ever-after is complicated by the screwed-up circus of people closest to them. US & THEM (wt) is produced by Sony Pictures Television and BBC Worldwide Productions. It is based on the hugely popular and multiple-award-winning BBC 3 series “Gavin and Stacey,” which was created and written by James Corden and Ruth Jones. US & THEM (wt) is adapted and written by David J. Rosen (“I Just Want My Pants Back”), and executive-produced by Rosen, Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner, Corden and Jones. Steve Coogan and Henry Normal serve as executive producers for Baby Cow Productions. Michael Patrick Jann (“Drop Dead Gorgeous”) directed the pilot.
SURVIVING JACK (working title)
SURVIVING JACK (working title) is a new single-camera ensemble comedy based on best-selling author Justin Halpern’s semi-autobiographical book, “I Suck at Girls.” Set in 1990s Southern California, Emmy Award nominee Christopher Meloni stars as a man becoming a dad, as his son is becoming a man, in a time before “coming of age” was something you could Google. SURVIVING JACK (wt) is produced by Doozer Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Based on best-selling author Justin Halpern’s book, “I Suck at Girls,” the series is created by Halpern (“$#*! My Dad Says”) and Patrick Schumacker (“$#*! My Dad Says”) who wrote the pilot. The series is executive-produced by Halpern, Schumacker, Emmy Award nominee Bill Lawrence (“Spin City,” “Scrubs,” “Clone High,” “Cougar Town”) and Jeff Ingold. Victor Nelli (“Scrubs,” “The Bernie Mac Show”) directed the pilot.