NBC has picked up Common Sense, a half-hour topical alternative comedy series featuring real people commenting on the week’s news and events. The network has given a six-episode order to the project, which already has been picked up to series by BBC Two in the U.K.. Common Sense hails from All3Media-owned Studio Lambert, which is taking the format to the upcoming MIPCOM television market.
Common Sense will feature a cast of recurring characters in different states — duos and trios made up of friends, colleagues or family members — sharing their opinions on seven or eight news stories of that week, from the big headlines to the random local happenings.
The NBC version of Common Sense will be produced by Studio Lambert, headed by Stephen Lambert, and Universal Television Alternative Studio.
“We can’t wait to listen in, laugh and capture the authentic, entertaining ways everyday people are reacting to the news of the week,” said Meredith Ahr, President of Uni TV Alternative Studio. “As the creator of some of the most groundbreaking formats of our time, we are honored to partner with Stephen on something so original and timely.”
Lambert is the creator of the global format Undercover Boss, adapted in the U.S. by CBS. Studio Lambert also is behind the popular reality format Gogglebox, whose U.S. version, The People’s Couch, airs on Bravo. It was the company’s experience on Googlebox, in which regular people watch and discuss TV shows from the past week, that provided the initial inspiration for Common Sense.
Lambert and his team took the concept of a show about common folk commenting on news and current events to the BBC, though they opted to pitch the concept to the comedy department, not the reality one. The executives liked it and ordered a pilot. Based on that pilot, the project was picked up to series by BBC Two in August, and based on the same pilot, it also landed a series order at NBC.
“It’s a show that really captures the water-cooler conversation, with pairs and threesomes discussing news and local stories in their workplace, in a bar, on a golf course or at the gym,” Lambert told Deadline. And while The People’s Couch is shot in Los Angeles, with Common Sense “we for the first time will be able to film the series across the country, which gives us the opportunity to make a show that reflects what is going on in the country.”
To stay topical, Common Sense will have a quick turnaround, with an episode airing within a week of it being filmed. It will cover all kind of news — political, sports, celebrity, etc., along with smaller local stories.
Executive producers are Lambert, Tania Alexander, Alex Katz, Greg Lipstone and Greg Goldman.
NBC has has success with alternative comedy series, most recently the summer breakout Better Late Than Never, which has been renewed for a second season.