CBS has handed a pilot order to JumpStart, a multi-camera comedy based on Robb Armstrong’s long-running comic strip. Wayne Conley (The Best Man) penned the TV adaptation. The project, from Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, Wendi Trilling’s TrillTV and CBS Studios, was among the first CBS buys for the 2023-24 season made last June. The order caps an almost decade-long journey for Kapital to adapt JumpStart for TV.
Based on the popular comic strip that debuted in 1989, JumpStart is set in Philadelphia and follows Joe, a cop, his wife Marcy, a nurse, and Joe’s partner Crunchy. Joe and Marcy are young, hip, urban parents with old school values who are willing to sacrifice for their kids and have some laughs while doing it!.
Conley executive produces with Kaplan and Melanie Frankel of Kapital Entertainment, Trilling for TrillTV and Armstrong’s producer Bridget McMeel, who brought the property to Hollywood, for Andrews McMeel Entertainment. Armstrong co-executive produces. Jessie Abbott is Kapital’s creative executive on the project.
This marks the second comedy pilot at CBS, joining a father-son multi-camera sitcom starring Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr.
Kapital previously teamed with Armstrong and McMeel to adapt JumpStart for television in 2014 when the project, a single-camera comedy with a different writer, was set up at Fox. Armstrong, one of only a handful of Black syndicated cartoonists in the U.S., based the JumpStart strip on his own experiences.
“Nearly every married couple I know is like Joe and Marcy, my main characters,” he said in a 1996 interview. “The image of young Blacks is so skewed, so false. I don’t know anybody who’s carjacking, playing basketball, rapping. Joe and Marcy and the characters I’ve developed are deep and based on real life.”
Initially carried by 40 papers, JumpStart grew in popularity to appear in more than 400 publications, including the Los Angeles Times, New York Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Boston Globe.
Conley is a co-executive producer on the Peacock limited series The Best Man. His series credits also include dramas Queen Sugar, Delilah and Greeenleaf and comedy White Famous. Conley has deep roots in sketch comedy, with writing credits on such shows as All That and Kenan & Kel. He has written a number of films including King’s Ransom and Our Family Wedding. Conley is repped by APA, Brad Kaplan at Link Entertainment and Rob Szymanski at Eclipse Law.
Andrews McMeel Entertainment is the entertainment division of Andrews McMeel Universal, the world’s largest independent syndicate, distributing content to more than 2,500 U.S. and 400 international news outlets. Comics, columns and puzzles AMU syndicates include The Far Side, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, “Dear Abby,” “Miss Manners” and the Universal Crossword.
At CBS, Kapital and TrillTV have hit multi-camera comedy series The Neighborhood, which was recently renewed for a sixth season.
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