The project, inspired by Bruce Feiler’s best-selling memoir, had been a standout throughout the pilot process. Having a similar sensibility to This Is Us, Council of Dads is considered a potential companion for the hit family drama.
Council of Dads, starring Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott and J. August Richards, marks NBC’s third new series pickup for next season, joining legal drama Bluff City Law starring Jimmy Smits and Kal Penn’s immigrant comedy Sunnyside. All three come from NBC sibling Uni TV.
Feiler’s memoir The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness and the Men Who Could Be Me was first adapted for TV eight years ago as a half-hour comedy by Peter Tolan, which went to pilot at Fox starring Kyle Bornheimer. Rater and Phelan’s drama take has gone a step further.
It tells the story of Scott and his family, whose lives are thrown into upheaval when he gets a potentially terminal diagnosis. Facing his mortality, he and his wife assemble a unique group of carefully chosen friends to support his family and guide them through the ups and downs of life’s many challenges.
Published in 2010, Feiler’s The Council of Dads chronicles the real-life experiences of bestselling author Feiler, who in 2008 was diagnosed with rare, life-threatening cancer. Fearing what the absence of a father figure would do to the lives of his young twin daughters, he looked at his male fiends and realized that there was no one person perfectly suited for the job. So he formed a Council of Dads, which consisted of six of his closest friends who agreed to help him raise his daughters. Each had his area of expertise: homework dad, outdoors dad, etc., so the girls knew who to turn to for a specific issue when their mother’s help was not enough. Feiler’s story has a happy ending – he made a full recovery, and the council was never fully activated.
Here is a detailed description and credits for NBC’s newly picked up series:
COUNCIL OF DADS
When Scott, a loving father of four, has his entire life’s plan thrown into upheaval by a cancer diagnosis, he calls on a few of his closest allies to step in as back-up dads for every stage of his growing family’s life. Scott assembles a trusted group of role models that includes Anthony, his oldest friend; Larry, his AA sponsor; and Oliver, his surgeon and best friend to his wife, Robin. These men agree to devote themselves to supporting and guiding Scott’s amazing family through all the triumphs and challenges life has to offer – just in case he ever can’t be there to do so himself.
The cast includes Sarah Wayne Callies, Clive Standen, Tom Everett Scott, J. August Richards, Blue Chapman, Emjay Anthony, Michele Weaver, Thalia Tran, Steven Silver and Michael O’Neill.
Tony Phelan & Joan Rater will write and executive produce. Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed will executive produce. James Oh and Bruce Feiler will produce. James Strong directed the pilot.
“Council of Dads” is produced by Universal Television in association with Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Midwest Livestock Productions.