DJ Nash’s hourlong gamble paid off. A Million Little Things, the first drama project ever from the comedy writer who created NBC’s Growing Up Fisher and Truth Be Told, was a big front-runner among ABC’s 2018 crop of pilots and now was handed one of the network’s first series orders for next season. The project, from ABC Studios and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, joins light cop drama The Rookie starring Nathan Fillion as well as The Goldbergs spinoff.
A Million Little Things features an all-star ensemble cast, many of whom had led their own series: David Giuntoli, Ron Livingston, Romany Malco, Allison Miller, Christina Moses, Christina Ochoa, James Roday, Stephanie Szostak and Lizzy Greene. Livingston’s casting had not been confirmed until now, but he was in the pilot, playing a pivotal role, and will appear in multiple episodes of the series.
Written by Nash and directed by James Griffiths, A Million Little Things — whose title stems from the popular adage,”Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things” — is described as being in the tone of The Big Chill. It revolves around a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it’s just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.
Nash executive produces with Kaplan and Dana Honor. The series is co-financed by Kapital Entertainment and ABC Studios.
The project, which exhibits possible This Is Us influences, hit a snag during casting that was eventually resolved, but aside that, it was smooth sailing for A Million Little Things through the development and pilot process to ABC’s schedule.
That is one step further than Nash’s single-camera half-hour pilot Losing It, also from Kapital, made it at ABC last season. The family comedy, starring Jon Cryer, was well received but didn’t quite fit in as it mixed comedy with drama.
“Sometimes in comedy, you have to apologize for adding drama, which is why I was so thrilled to see ABC’s passion for a drama that has comedy,” Nash told Deadline last summer when ABC bought his pitch for A Million Little Things.
The hourlong drama with comedy elements — about a group of eight friends, four men and four women, in which the one whose life looked most put together commits suicide — is loosely based on personal experience. “It’s an optimistic look at how the loss of a friend is the impetus for the other seven to finally start living, to make a promise to him and to themselves to finally be honest about what’s really going on,” Nash said. “I know in my own life, my friend’s passing is a constant reminder to keep things in perspective.
The pickup gives Kapital at least two series on ABC next season, with sophomore comedy American Housewife considered a shoo-in for renewal. The company also has in contention at the network Justin Noble’s workplace comedy pilot.