A new Coach sitcom won’t be coming to NBC after all. The network, which in April ordered a follow-up to 1990s comedy with a 13-episode straight-to-series order, today scrapped the project, I have learned. The show’s cast and producers have started getting the news this evening. The decision comes after weeks of rumblings about creative issues on the project, which has filmed only a pilot episode. Original star Craig T. Nelson toplined the new show, written by the original series creator Barry Kemp.
While Coach had a 13-episode order, NBC opted to film one episode and take time to re-evaluate the project before proceeding with the other 12 episodes. I hear besides Nelson, who is guaranteed 13 episodic fees, all other cast members are being paid for the produced episode only. I hear response to the reboot had been mixed, with some sources indicating that it felt dated. Creative differences between NBC and the producers led to the show being cancelled by the network. Sibling studio Universal TV will be shopping the series elsewhere, I hear. Netflix, for instance, has been responsive to updates to popular series, like Full House.
The series was set in the present, picking up 18 years after the ABC sitcom went off the air after nine seasons. Coach Fox (Nelson) — now retired from coaching — is called back to become assistant coach to his grown son, Tim (Andrew Ridings), who is the new head coach at an Ivy League school in Pennsylvania that is starting up a new team. Original cast member Bill Fagerbakke was slated to return alongside Nelson, with Malcolm Barrett and Morgan Smith also co-starring.
When NBC topper Bob Greenblatt was quizzed about the Coach reboot at TCA two weeks ago, a critic said that many had perceived the news of a Coach revamp as a practical joke. “One man’s practical joke is another man’s hit show,” Greenblatt quipped. “(The Coach reboot) is a way to do another variation on a family show with, I think, a truly talented star and a great showrunner and a presold title. And if that works, then Alf: The Series is next.”