EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has given an eight-episode series order to Merry Happy Whatever, a holiday-themed multi-camera comedy series starring and executive produced by Dennis Quaid. The project hails from former Everybody Loves Raymond executive producer Tucker Cawley, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Wendi Trilling’s TrillTV. Top multi-camera helmer Pam Fryman is set and direct.
In Merry Happy Whatever, written by Cawley, Dennis Quaid plays Don Quinn, a strong-willed patriarch who must balance the demands of his complicated family with the stress of the Christmas season when his youngest daughter comes home for the holidays with a new boyfriend.
The project is envisioned as a potential anthology series. The first season takes place over the week or so around Christmas, with future seasons possibly exploring other holidays.
Cawley serves as showrunner and executive produces Merry Happy Whatever with Quaid, Fryman, Kapital Entertainment’s Kaplan and Dana Honor and TrillTV’s Trilling (The Neighborhood, Fam).
With the order for Merry Happy Whatever, Kaplan has 11 series on the air including three at Netflix, along with Santa Clarita Diet, which is heading into Season 3, and Indian anthology drama series Delhi Crime, which the streaming network recently picked up with a two-season order.
Cawley wrote Merry Happy Whatever on spec, which was developed at Netflix, with Kapital coming on board. The project expands Cawley’s relationship with Kapital after serving as writer/consulting producer on the company’s breakout ABC freshman drama A Million Little Things. It also marks the latest collaboration between Kapital, TrillTV and Fryman, who was director/executive producer on their CBS series 9JKL and serves in the same capacity on Kapital’s CBS comedy pilot Carol’s Second Act starring Patricia Heaton. On Netflix, Fryman is a director on the One Day at a Time reboot. Meanwhile, Trilling worked closely with Tucker during her tenure as head of comedy at CBS and his stint on Everybody Loves Raymond and other series for the network.
Quaid is the latest veteran movie star to headline a Netflix comedy series, joining Grace & Frankie‘s Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin and The Kominsky Method‘s Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. On TV, he previously toplined Fortitude, The Art of More and Vegas and stars opposite Billy Bob Thornton on the upcoming third season of Amazon’s Goliath.
Quaid’s recent big-screen credits include A Dog’s Purpose and I Can Only Imagine, and he next will be seen starring in Sony’s The Intruder and in Universal’s A Dog’s Journey. He is repped by WME and Hansen Jacobson.
Cawley, who won a writing Emmy for Everybody Loves Raymond, served as an executive producer on CBS’ The Odd Couple. He is repped by CAA and attorney Patti Felker.
Fryman, who also is directing CBS’ comedy pilot Carol’s Second Act, from another Raymond alum, Mike Royce, is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Holmes Weinberg.