We are officially in pilot season. NBC has given pilot orders to three comedies: Marlon, starring Marlon Wayans from Chris Moynihan; the DC Comics-themed Powerless, from Ben Queen; and an untitled project from Matt Hubbard & Mike Schur. Additionally, NBC reaffirmed the pilot order announced in August to an untitled comedy from Tracey Wigfield, Tina Fey & Robert Carlock. With the exception of Marlon, all are single-camera. All three newly picked up pilots had big commitments — put pilot and pilot production commitments. The pickups signal again NBC’s push into comedy for next season, something the network already indicated with several off-cycle pickups.
Marlon, loosely inspired by Wayans’ life, centers on an inappropriate but loving father (Wayans) committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife. Moynihan will serve as showrunner and executive produce with Wayans, Rick Alvarez and 3 Arts’ Michael Rotenberg for Universal TV.
Wayans co-created and starred in the The Wayans Brothers, the first WB comedy to reach syndication. The NBC project marks his first series regular role since that 1990s sitcom.
Powerless, from A To Z creator Ben Queen and Warner Bros. TV, evokes NBC’s signature comedy series The Office, but with superheroes. Based on characters from DC Comics, Powerless is a workplace comedy set at one of the worst insurance companies in America — with the twist being that it also takes place in the universe of DC Comics. The show is about the reality of working life for a normal, powerless person in a world of superheroes and villains.
I had heard that the list of DC characters who will appear on the show is not expected to include the biggest DC brands like Batman and Superman. The focus of the series is on the ordinary, “power-less” folk working at the insurance company who often envy the men and women outside their window who make headlines with their supernatural powers. Queen is the writer/executive producer. Michael Patrick Jann is set to direct and exec produce.
The untitled Matt Hubbard project, from Uni TV, comes from former 30 Rock co-executive producer Hubbard and Parks & Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine co-creator/executive producer Mike Schur. Loosely based on Hubbard’s life, it revolves around Andrew and Josie, a happily married interracial couple whose lives take a turn when they move close to Josie’s family in Missouri. Hubbard is the writer. He will executive produce with Schur, on whose NBC series Parks & Rec Hubbard served as consulting producer, and 3 Arts’ David Miner.
This is the second production order for Schur at NBC. He also landed a straight-to-series 13-episode pickup last summer for another comedy, The Good Place, which centers on a woman wrestling with what it means to be good.
The previously picked up untitled Tracey Wigfield pilot, written by the 30 Rock alumna, centers on an already inseparable mother-daughter relationship that becomes more complicated when mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace. Wigfield exec produces with Fey, Carlock and David Miner.