In a very unusual move, following last month’s series order to the Jerrod Carmichael comedy, NBC has brought in 20th Century Fox TV to be the lead studio, with sibling Universal TV, which developed the multi-camera project in its multiple incarnations and produced the most recent pilot, serving as co-producer.
After taking over, 20th TV set up meetings between the star, rising comedian Carmichael, on whose standup the show was based, with potential showrunners. He hit it off with Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, who serves as co-executive producer on the 20th TV-produced Fox comedy series New Girl under a show deal.
The studio has moved in to lock in Sanchez-Witzel with a two-year overall deal. Under the pact, she will serve as executive producer/showrunner on the Jerrod Carmichael series, which now has an official title, The Carmichael Show.
Sanchez-Witzel will serve as executive producer alongside Carmichael and the most recent pilot’s writer, Nick Stoller, who will continue to be creatively involved, as well as Ravi Nandan. The series, which premieres on Aug. 5, has a six-episode order. There will be no changes to the pilot, with 20th TV producing five additional episodes.
The Carmichael Show, which has been drawing comparisons to another comedian-fronted multi-camera sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond, is inspired by Jerrod’s relationships with his say-anything, contrarian father; his therapist-in training girlfriend; his ever-hustling brother and his mother who is always, always, always right with Jesus. David Alan Grier and Loretta Devine play Jerrod’s father and mother.
While networks’ in-house studios are often kissed into projects from outside studios in semi-forced co-productions as part of a series pickup, it is very rare for a project from a network’s own production arm to be taken to an outside studio to produce after it goes to series. NBC and Uni TV originally took a stab at a Jerrod Carmichael comedy vehicle last season with a presentation order. The project was later redeveloped and piloted with a new writer.
Sanchez-Witzel came out of NBC’s diversity writing program, becoming one of the program’s biggest success stories. She has had overall deals at Universal TV, under which she did a stint as a co-executive producer on the NBC/20th TV comedy My Name Is Earl, and at CBS TV Studios, working on The Millers and developing.
“Our relationship with Danielle dates all the way back to My Name Is Earl and she’s been doing terrific work for us on New Girl this season,” 20th TV president of Creative Affairs Jonnie Davis said. “She has a big, bold voice that is perfect for The Carmichael Show and we’re thrilled to have her on board running it.”
Sanchez-Witzel is repped by UTA and Jackoway Tyerman.