Seeso has greenlighted There’s Johnny!,” an eight-episode scripted comedy series set behind the scenes at The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, from Mad About You creator Paul Reiser. It’s slated to premiere in 2017, 55 years after Carson’s first appearance in The Tonight Show and 25 years after his last show.
Written by Reiser and David Steven Simon (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Mad About You), the coming of age story is set in 1970s Los Angeles, when The Tonight Show first moved from New York to Burbank. Reiser and Simon executive with David Gordon Green (Red Oaks, Vice Principals), who also will direct.
The Seeso original series follows the lives and challenges of Andy, a wide-eyed 19-year-old Nebraskan who stumbles his way into a job at The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson and Joy, a young Talent Coordinator on the show, as they both try to find their way and prove themselves in this period of cultural and political upheaval. The show will touch on major historical events of the time, including the Vietnam War, Nixon, and the strengthening counter-culture, as well the show’s status as one of the most popular and important cultural institution of its day.
Produced in conjunction with the Carson Estate and with unprecedented access to the full Carson archives, the comedy will intertwine live action with authentic footage of Johnny and his guests on screen. The series will focus on the people behind the scenes of the legendary late-night show, while Johnny will be portrayed as a looming presence. Carson’s nephew Jeff Sotzing also will executive produce.
“Growing up, the coolest thing imaginable was to someday get on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and make Johnny laugh. The fact that I got to do that was a dream come true, and going back now to explore that world, and pay homage to Johnny and that golden time is an absolute joy,” said Paul Reiser.
“1972 was as chaotic as today – cultural unrest, an unpopular war, an election that would change politics forever. Despite that, each night, from a studio in Burbank, a bunch of folks put on a show that made all of America smile, together. This inventive story looks back, and inward, at just how important humor is to the American psyche. Plus, the chance to bring both Paul Reiser and Johnny Carson back to the NBCUniversal family is an awesome, once in a lifetime thing.” said Evan Shapiro, Executive Vice President, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal.
Brian Volk-Weiss, Michael Pelmont, Cisco Henson, and Matt Ochacher also will executive produce along with Seeso’s Evan Shapiro, Kelsey Balance and Dan Kerstetter. Craig Knizek will serve as Producer. Nuance Productions, Comedy Dynamics, and Rough House will co-produce in partnership with the Carson Estate.
Reiser is repped by Gersh.