NBC has given a pilot order to What About Barb?, a single-camera comedy series based on the 1991 Frank Oz movie What About Bob? The cult black comedy starred Bill Murray as the eponymous Bob, a psychiatric patient who joins his psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), and his family on vacation.
The TV reboot, from ABC Studios, goes for a gender switch, with female Bob and Leo. Written and executive produced by veteran comedy writing duo, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, What About Barb? centers on a psychotherapist who tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process.
The 1991 movie, produced by Touchstone Pictures and producer Laura Ziskin, was a critical and boxoffice success, grossing $64 million domestically on a $39 million budget.
ABC Studios had been looking to reboot the library title for awhile, first trying to mount an adaptation during the 2015-16 development cycle. Spearheading the effort was the studio’s comedy development executive Zack Olin who found and developed the property and came up with the idea to make Bob a woman. The project was made an open writing assignment, and after a two-year search for the right writing team, Port and Wiseman came in with the winning take on the original. The project was taken out, landing at NBC in a competitive situation.
New Girl alums Port and Wiseman recently were under an overall deal at CBS TV Studios. This marks their return to NBC where they worked on The Office.
This also makes a return for ABC Studios to NBC with a comedy pilot after producing two half-hour pilots for the network in 2014, Rob Lowe’s The Pro and Casey Wilson & June Raphael’s Mason Twins.