UPDATED: I hear ABC Studios has extended the options on four actors from its untitled ABC Johnny Knoxville comedy pilot: David Koechner, Julie Ann Emery, Brad Carter and Lavell Crawford. Knoxville, on whose life the project is based, will continue as narrator. I hear the idea is to re-conceive the project with a new writer and shoot another pilot.
Narrated by Knoxville and based on his life, the comedy follows the exploits of 12-year-old Johnny navigating the “outlaw culture” of his family and small hometown of Knoxville, TN, and documents the childhood experiences that inspired him to become one of the greatest pranksters of a generation. Koechner and Emery play Johnny’s parents; Carter plays “Jukebox” Johnson Jr, an employee of his father Ray’s tire shop; Crawford plays Big Stevie.
The project, originally written by Victor Fresco, has been considered one that got away last pilot season. Ordered as a pilot, the comedy went after Koechner for one of the leads. He was the producers’ choice, and they got him, but The Office alum was working on a movie and became available very late in the pilot production cycle. To make the upfront deadline, the Johnny Knoxville comedy ended up filming a presentation instead of a full-blown pilot. (I hear there were other factors for that decision too.) It didn’t get a series order but remained on the radar of ABC and ABC Studios executives who had been looking for ways to revisit it.
Knoxville, Michael Rotenberg and Dave Becky are executive producing.
The Johnny Knoxville comedy joins one other pilot from last season that has extended options on some of its actors and remains alive with new writers — NBC drama Unveiled. Additionally, CBS drama pilot Sneaky Pete is in series consideration at Amazon.