While Fox is screening its pilots in contention for next fall, the network also has given a pilot order to a half-hour multi-camera comedy from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator Rob McElhenney, Rob Rosell and 20th Century Fox TV.
Written by McElhenney and Rosell, the untitled comedy centers on a woman, her ex-husband and her new wife who work together to raise a family in middle America. McElhenney and Rosell executive produce with It’s Always Sunny‘s Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton and 3 Arts’ Nick Frenkel.
The pilot will be filmed off-cycle for midseason 2019 consideration and beyond. The McElhenney/Rosell project joins another Fox comedy pilot, Bless This Mess, which also will be shooting this summer. As we reported last month, Fox again has been looking to do a round of off-cycle pilots. Last season’s off-cycle orders included multi-camera comedy pilot Cool Kids, also from Sunny‘s Day, McElhenney and Glenn Howerton.
The McElhenney/Rosell project was one of the highest-profile buys at Fox this development season, receiving a pilot production commitment last fall. It was also one of the first comedy scripts that Fox brass discussed for a pilot pickup. By January 4, the project already had hired a casting director, and a search for an actress to play the lead female character was underway.
The comedy was always cast-contingent, hinging on finding the right actress to build it around. I hear the network and the studio looked around during the traditional pilot window but an off-cycle order will give them more time to cast the lead over the next several weekx.
Additionally, the TV landscape shifted between January and now, with the successful return of ABC’s Roseanne putting a premium on multi-camera family comedies set in middle America. The McElhenney/Rosell project fits that description and, like Roseanne, it also has a strong female character at the center.
BTW, the other multi-camera project Fox brass were “really passionate about” in early January, per the network’s entertainment president Michael Thorn, was the Jerrod Carmichael/Mike Scully sitcom starring Lil Rel Howrey. It went to pilot, which is considered a frontrunner for a series pickup at the network.
McElhenney co-created It’s Always Sunny with Howerton, and stars along with Day. Rosell served as an executive producer on the first 10 seasons of It’s Always Sunny and currently writes on 20th TV’s Fox comedy series The Mick.
McElhenney, Day and Howerton are repped by WME, 3 Arts and Sloane Offer. Rosell is repped by UTA and Hansen Jacobson.