Likely fueled by the success of the revival of Will & Grace, which is NBC’s highest rated and most watched comedy series, the network is making a push in multicamera sitcoms. It’s been a major trend during pitch season, with all Big 4 broadcast networks stockpiling on multicam projects, which are more lucrative from a business standpoint because they are cheaper to make and repeat better.
NBC has given pilot orders to four multi-camera comedies, Suzanne Martin’s Like Family, Greg Malins’ So Close and Josh Malmuth’s Abby’s — all from Universal TV — and Brian Gallivan’s Friends-In-Law, from Warner Bros. TV.
Like Family and So Close hail from Hazy Mills, the Uni TV-based company of Will & Grace star Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner; Abby’s is from Mike Schur’s Fremulon and 3 Arts; while Friends-In-Law is exec produced by veteran sitcom producer Tom Werner.
Written by Martin, who has been working on the Will & Grace revival, Like Family centers on Aubrey and Artie who formed the tightest of sibling-like bonds growing up together in foster care, but are discovering that such closeness makes adulthood even more complicated.
Martin, Hayes and Milliner executive produce the project, which was originally sold with its format — single- or multi-camera — not determined.
This is the fourth pilot for Martin with Hazy Mills. The other three all went to series — Hot in Cleveland and spinoff The Soul Man on TV Land and Crowded on NBC.
Written by Friends and Will & Grace alum Malins, So Close, which landed at NBC in a competitive situation with a put pilot commitment, centers on hopeless romantics Riley & Kyle. At crossroads in their separate lives, they are close to settling for the wrong partner, unaware that they live only blocks apart and may be each other’s soul mates. Malins, Hayes and Milliner executive produce.
Abby’s, which echoes the tradition of one of NBC’s best comedy series of all time, Cheers, is set at an unlicensed bar in San Diego where the regulars enthusiastically enforce a unique set of rules that give them a sense of community and allow them to avoid the frustrating behavior found at other establishments.
Written by Malmuth (New Girl, Superstore), the project had a put pilot commitment with significant penalties attached. He executive produces with, The Good Place creator/executive producer Schur and 3 Arts’ David Miner.
Written by The McCarthys creator Brian Gallivan, Friends-In-Law centers on Brian and Jake who are polar opposites and must quickly figure out how to coexist when their respective best friends decide to get married. Gallivan and Werner executive produce.
NBC has been ahead of the game this pilot season with five drama and four comedy pilot orders so far.