ABC swooped in and picked up Bless This Mess, created/executive produced by Bell and Elizabeth Meriwether, to series last month with a six-episode order. The project originated at 20th Century Fox TV and was previously set up at Fox where it received an off-cycle pilot order last season.
Fox has no scheduling needs this midseason, and new Fox topper Charlie Collier was not ready to commit to Bless This Mess for next fall before he has seen the network’s development, so the network passed on the pilot. Meanwhile, ABC brass had been keeping a close eye on Bless This Mess and jumped at the opportunity when the project became available. The network had a need for a short-order comedy series in midseason as it opted not to proceed with The Middle spinoff and only had The Goldbergs spinoff Schooled on tap. Sophomore comedy Splitting Up Together received a five-episode back order, and ABC didn’t have a spring replacement for the romantic comedy after it wraps its 18-episode season on April 9 in the Tuesday 9:30 PM slot. Bless This Mess will now feel that role.
Bless This Mess will be a co-production between soon-to-be corporate siblings 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios. In it, a newlywed couple (Bell, Shepard) makes the decision to move from big city New York to rural Nebraska. After dropping everything (including their jobs and overbearing mother-in-law) to make the move from skyscrapers to farmhouses, they soon realize that the simpler life isn’t as easy as they planned. Rio and Mike must now learn how to weather the storm as they are faced with unexpected challenges in their new life as farmers. The cast also includes Ed Begley Jr., Pam Grier amd JT Neal. The role of Greir’s daughter, played by Christina Offley in the pilot, is being reconceived to be of a different age and recast.
Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar are executive producers, as are Shepard and Katherine Pope.