CBS is going back into the vault for one of its latest comedy pilots.
The network has ordered two comedy pilots – Sober Companion, a project that previously went to pilot starring Justin Long, and The Hug Machine, directed by Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone.
Sober Companion is exec produced by Jane The Virgin creator/exec producer Jennie Snyder Urman.
The multi-camera comedy, which comes from CBS Studios, was originally set up at Fox in 2014 with Long in the title role and Nick Frost as the co-lead. However, the project, which was originally written by Urman and David Rosenthal, didn’t make it past the pilot stage and has now been retooled through a female lens.
The Long role – he played Jeremy in the original – has turned into Eliza, a hot-mess alcoholic who owns a bar with her uncle in New Orleans, but is forced to get her life together when the court appoints her an exhaustingly upbeat sober companion with whom she has to live 24/7. Both leads are women vs. men in the original.
Sober Companion is back as a multi-camera comedy, having originally started as that before being turned into a single-camera project to appeal to Long.
Rosenthal, who was Urman’s former boss on Gilmore Girls and also exec produced Jane The Virgin with her, is back on board writing the new take alongside The Neighborhood and 9JKL writer Gracie Glassmeyer from a story they co-wrote with Urman.
In fact, Glassmeyer, whose idea it was to bring Sober Companion back as a multi-cam comedy with two female leads, and Rosenthal actually got engaged during the making of the original pilot and married a year later.
Another fun aside: the comedy made it on to the wall of Fox’s 2014 presentation at the Beacon Theatre, despite not being picked up (left).
Glassmeyer and Rosenthal will exec produce alongside Urman and her Sutton Street Productions partner Joanna Klein.
Separately, CBS has ordered a pilot for The Hug Machine, a single-camera project that comes from Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist exec producer Sam Laybourne and Taccone.
Laybourne, who was also a co-EP on Black-ish, is writing and exec producing, while Taccone will direct and exec produce. Taccone’s Lonely Island partners Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer will also exec produce alongside Ali Bell. The family comedy with musical elements comes from CBS Studios.
The Hug Machine follows a dad, who gets a second chance to save both his marriage and his flailing rock career when his band unintentionally finds success in the raucous, cutthroat world of children’s music.
The pair join Rust Belt News, a comedy from The Simpsons writer Matt Warburton, which was ordered to pilot earlier this week.
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