CBS just made what are expected to be the final comedy pilot pickups this season, greenlighting three projects. Two of them are multi-camera – one from Friends alum Greg Malins toplined by Rules Of Engagement star Patrick Warburton, which will likely get Rules fans alarmed; and one from former Scrubs executive producer Tad Quill originally developed three seasons ago. The third order went to a single-camera adaptation of an Israeli format by Smash co-executive producers Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky. Overall, CBS has ordered 12 comedy pilots this season – six multi-camera and six single-camera.
Malins’ script, titled Jacked Up, clinched the pickup after Warburton recently signed on to play the lead and the project, originally developed by Sony TV, became a co-production with CBS TV Studios. Rules co-producer Happy Madison also has come on board. Warburton’s casting is certain to raise questions about the future of Rules Of Engagement, which has managed to make it to seven seasons after spending most of its run on the bubble. An ultimate utility player, Rules delivered another solid showing in its seventh season premiere on Monday. But, even if CBS is willing to bring the veteran back for another cycle, I hear the cast deals are up this season, making extending the series difficult for producer Sony TV. However, as Rules has proven time and again, it can never be ruled out. The fact that both Jacked Up and Rules are at the same network and studio makes any decisions on both flexible with creative scheduling/deal-making. Written by Malins, Jacked Up centers on a beloved, recently retired baseball player who finds that adjusting to retirement isn’t as easy as he thought it’d be. In addition to starring, Warburton will serve as producer. Malins and Doug Robinson executive produce. On the feature side, ICM Partners-repped Warburton is currently seen in Movie 43.
The untitled Tad Quill project, from CBS TV Studios, centers on a recently widowed father who raises his 12-year old son while jumping back into the dating pool. CBS originally developed and ordered the script to pilot three years ago but the pilot was pushed because of difficulties casting the lead and never made. Its resurrection this year is somewhat surprising because Quill had another project, a single-camera firefighter comedy with Sony TV, in serious contention at CBS with a put pilot commitment. (That project had previously David Walton attached to star; the actor signed on to topline NBC’s About A Boy earlier today.)
The Rottenberg/Zuritsky project (formerly Mother’s Day) is based on a series from top Israeli broadcaster Keshet, on whose format Showtime’s Emmy-winning drama Homeland is based. Produced by CBS TV Studios, it centers on 40-year-old Ella who, in order to successfully navigate through the demanding life of being a mother of three, a lover, a friend and a career woman, constantly lies her way out of and into situations — little lies, big lies, white and at times not-so-white lies. The original Israeli series, which premiered on Keshet’s Channel 2 in August, was created by Daniela London-Dekel and Dana Eden, written by London-Dekel and produced by Eden’s Eden Prods. (Watch the English-language trailer below.) Rottenberg and Zuritsky executive produce the CBS version with London-Dekel, Eden and Keshet’s CEO Avi Nir and head of programming Ran Telem. This marks the second CBS pilot based on an Israeli format this season, joining drama Hostages, and the third overall, along with ABC comedy Divorce. (CBS also got this close to picking up David Marshall Grant’s adaptation of Israeli drama Ted Quartet).