It’s true — NBC just announced that it has picked up sophomore Undateable for a third season consisting entirely of live episodes. They will be live on East Coast, and I hear there is a possibly of doing them live for both coasts, like the episode the show did this week. It is unclear whether the order is for 13 or 22 episodes. Undateable will be the only returning NBC comedy series on the schedule next season.
There was just a modest ratings increase for the Undateable hourlong live episode but it was generally well received, attracted name guest stars including Ed Sheeran, Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Kate Walsh, Dr. Drew Pinsky and Minnie Driver, and it did well on social media.
That was probably an encouraging sign for NBC brass who have been mounting a major push in live entertainment or programs that have a live feel. In addition to the now-annual stage musicals, NBC has the upcoming Neil Patrick Harris variety show, which will tape in front of a live audience, and the network had been discussing doing more installments of the Maya Rudolph variety special. (NBC, of course has long traditions in live entertainment programming with Saturday Night Live).
Undateable already broke the mold once. Pushed to summer as a burn-off last year, it logged the highest rated summer comedy launch in years, earning a second season renewal.
And going the live route would come natural to most Undateable cast members who are comedians, including Chris D’Elia, Brent Morin, Ron Funches and Rick Glassman. The cast was a hit at the winter TCA press tour with engaging live interaction, which may have informed NBC’s decision to go with a live episode.
Undateable, from Bill Lawrence & Adam Sztykiel and Warner Bros. TV, is about a group of close-knit friends living in Detroit, helping one another figure out their lives.