NBC continues to hand out pilot orders to its comedy projects with big commitments. Among the latest pickups were an untitled royal-family comedy written by Charlie Grandy and executive produced by Amy Poehler (fka Dumb Prince), which had a production commitment, and The Trail, a documentary-style procedural comedy from comedy veteran Jeff Astrof and Forever creator Matt Miller, which had a put pilot commitment. Additionally, NBC has greenlighted Good Fortune, an ensemble comedy from Rashida Jones and Will McCormack’s Le Train Train. The three comedies come from different studios: Universal TV (Poehler/Grandy), Warner Bros. TV (The Trail) and 20th TV (Good Fortune); the first two are single-camera, while Good Fortune is multi.
The Poehler/Grandy comedy centers on a reluctant Crown Prince. After years of partying that earned him the “black sheep” label, Karl returns home to compete with his brother for the family throne. Poehler’s Paper Kite Prods. and 3 Arts produce with Uni TV; Grandy and Poehler executive produce with Dave Becky and Brooke Posch.
This is Saturday Night Live alum Grandy’s second consecutive pilot order, following last year’s 48 Hours ‘Til Monday for Fox/Uni TV.
The Trail, whose title is a scrambled version of Trial, is a serialized comedy following a young big-city lawyer and his oddball defense team during a high profile murder trial in a small southern town. It was conceived as a spoof of crime documentaries like the The Jinx, a genre that has become red-hot while The Trail was in development with the blockbuster success of Netflix’s Making a Murderer. ABC recently dipped its toe in the arena on the drama side with a pilot order to The Jury.
The Trail combines Miller’s procedural background and Astrof’s extensive comedy experience. (In addition to his drama resume, Miller also has created a half-hour comedy, Grown Ups, and was an executive producer on hourlong action dramedy Chuck.) Friends alum Astrof recently serves as executive producer/showrunner on Warner Horizon’s TBS comedy series Ground Floor.
Written by Matt Zinman & Craig Gerard (How I Met Your Mother), Good Fortune is an ensemble comedy that focuses on a hyper-structured young woman whose life is upended when she starts taking advice from a mysterious fortune teller. Zinman and Gerard— currently supervising producers NBC’s Telenovela starring Eva Longoria — exec produce alongside Jones and McCormack.
Jones and McCormack launched their TV producing efforts in 2013 with a pod deal at Warner Bros. TV, which yielded a series, NBC’s A to Z, and a pilot, ABC’s Mix. Because of the duo’s commitments outside of the deal — Jones and McCormack have been tapped to write Toy Story 4, and Jones stars in TBS’ upcoming comedy series Angie Tribeca, which already has been renewed for a second season — they opted not to re-up their WBTV deal when it expired in May. Instead, they’re taking an opportunistic approach to TV producing with occasional projects, like their NBC sale this season.