In 1995, following a stand-up appearance on Late Show With David Letterman in which he talked about his life as a father of young kids, then-thirtysomething comedian Ray Romano headlined a multi-camera comedy project at CBS inspired by his life, which would go to pilot and become a very successful series, Everybody Loves Raymond.
A fellow thirtysomething comedian and new father Tommy Johnagin is looking to follow in his footsteps. After a recent appearance on Letterman (his seventh, you can watch it below), Johnagin is getting to topline a multi-camera comedy for CBS inspired by his life. Like Romano, who teamed with Phil Rosenthal, Johnagin is partnering with TV writers, Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. The project, executive produced by Bill Lawrence, has received a pilot production commitment from the network. Warner Bros. TV, where Halpern and Schumacker are under an overall deal, produces with Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer.
It is shaping to be a big development season for Surviving Jack creators Halpern and Schumacker, who also received a pilot production commitment from ABC for multi-camera family comedy Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth. The CBS project reunites the duo with Lawrence and Doozer who together produced Surviving Jack.
Written by Johnagin, Halpern and Schumacker, the untitled CBS comedy stars Johnagin as a standup comic raising a family in a small Midwestern town. Until he moved to Los Angeles three years ago, Illinois-born Johnagin lived in southern Illinois and St. Louis, launching and building his career from there. Halpern, Schumacker and Doozer’s Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive produce, with Johnagin co-executive producing.
Johnagin previously had a semi-autobiographical starring vehicle in the works at NBC in 2012, which he co-wrote with Mike Pennie. Last year, he developed a comedy at USA Network. “In my mind, it’s like anything – I’ll put the work in and I’ll try to just come up with something I think is great or good,” he recently said in an online interview. “It feels like it’s boiling over, and I get closer every year, every few months until I get closer to having my own thing.”
This marks Halpern and Schumacker’s return to CBS where the duo created their first series, S#*! My Dad Says. Like Surviving Jack, it was based on a book by Halpern. Halpern, Schumacker and Doozer are repped by ICM Partners.