Resourcefulness paid off for Amblin TV and ABC Studios, with the pilot presentation starring Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons & Justine Simmons, which they self-financed, leading to a 10-episode, straight-to-series order at Netflix.
The multi-camera sitcom, created by Jeremy Bronson, creator of new ABC comedy series The Mayor, started off as one the biggest multi-camera sales last development season , which ABC landed in October 2016 in a very competitive situation with a put pilot commitment plus a big penalty. It did not get a pilot order, but, based on the strong interest the pitch had received by multiple networks, producing companies Amblin TV and ABC Studios pulled together resources and used the penalty money to finance a pilot presentation, which was filmed on the set of Black-ish.
The presentation was screened with the rest of the ABC full-length pilots and was well received but, because in part because of the last-minute American Idol and Roseanne acquisitions, the network only picked up three new comedy series, including Bronson’s The Mayor, and got out of the multi-camera comedy business.
Amblin and ABC Studios took the project to the marketplace and quickly garnered interest at Netflix. In an indication how difficult creating business templates these days is, negotiations between the two companies went on for several months. (Netflix has the Marvel drama series from ABC Studios but the comedy business is different.) The untitled Rev Run series will be produced by Amblin TV and ABC Studios’ cable/digital division ABC Signature.
The series stars Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons as a legendary rapper whose plans for slowing down are thwarted when his wife Justine (played by his real-life wife, Justine Simmons) decides to pursue her own dreams. While Rev and Justine have starred in several reality shows over the years, this is their first scripted family sitcom playing characters loosely inspired by themselves.
Production on the series begins in January.Andrew Reich has come on board as showrunner. He executive produces with Bronson, Justin Falvey & Darryl Frank from Amblin Television, alongside Rev Run Simmons & Justine Simmons, and Michael Lehman of Simmons Lehman Productions.
Joseph Simmons, known for his stage names Rev Run and DJ Run, was one of the founding members of the iconic hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. in addition to being a practicing minister.
Like rocker Ozzy Osbourne with MTV’s The Osbournes, Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Simmons found a new audience and reality stardom with his popular series Run’s House, which ran on MTV for six seasons and introduced his family including wife Justine.