CBS has kicked off its pilot-to-series orders with nods to two multi-camera comedies, Welcome to the Neighborhood, starring Cedric the Entertainer, and Untitled Damon Wayans Jr. project (fka Untitled Austen Earl/Tim McAuliffe), Both sitcoms come from CBS sibling CBS TV Studios. And if CBS is sticking to its playbook of picking up fall shows first, these would be the two new comedies the network would introduce next fall, possibly alongside the straight-to-series Murphy Brown revival.
The untitled Damon Wayans Jr. project is executive produced by The Late Late Show with James Corden EP Ben Winston and is inspired by a time when he and pop star Harry Styles lived together. While the One Direction alum was not formally attached in the pilot stage, he will now serve as an executive producer on the series, which is not based on real life experiences or characters.
Welcome To the Neighborhood, produced by Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, was written by The Big Bang Theory alum Reynolds and directed by veteran James Burrows. It centers on the nicest guy in the Midwest (Josh Lawson) who moves his family into a tough neighborhood in L.A. where not everyone appreciates his extreme neighborliness. That includes their new next-door neighbor Calvin (Cedric).
The cast of the series also includes Sheaun McKinney, Tichina Arnold, Dreama Walker, Marcel Spears and Hank Greenspan.
Reynolds executive produces with Kapital’s Kaplan and Dana Honor as well as Kapital-based producer Wendi Trilling via her Trill TV and Cedric and Eric Rhone of A Bird And A Bear Entertainment.
Earlier this season, Kapital developed multi-camera workplace comedy Ladder 54 as a starring vehicle for Cedric, one of multiple scripts CBS commissioned for the comedian under a development deal with him. Welcome to the Neighborhood also had been eyed as a potential vehicle for Cedric.
Following a eight-season stint on The Big bang Theory, where he rose to executive producer, Reynolds served as co-executive producer on CBS/CBS TV Studios/Kapital multi-camera comedy series 9JKL this season.
Written by McAuliffe and Earl and directed by Phill Lewis, the untitled Damon Wayans Jr. comedy revolves around Peter (Wayans) and Claire (Amber Stevens West), a thirtysomething couple who are tired of their mundane life and start to reconnect with their younger, cooler selves when an emerging pop star, who is drawn to their super-normal suburban life, moves in.
The cast of the series also includes Felix Mallard, Stephnie Weir and Chris Parnell.
McAuliffe and Earl executive produce with Winston via Fulwell 73, Styles and 3 Arts Entertainment’s Michael Rotenberg and Jonathan Berry.
Damon Wayans Jr. was the most hotly pursued comedy actor this pilot season — as well as most pilot seasons in the past several years. His rich pact for the CBS comedy is said to include points on the show and a two-year first-look producing deal with CBS TV Studios that was to kick in if the pilot went to series.