Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson is adding a third NBC series to his plate. The network has given a series order to The Kenan Show (aka Saving Kenan), a single-camera comedy starring and executive produced by Thompson, from Universal TV and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. This is NBC’s second new comedy series pickup for next season, joining Kal Penn’s Sunnyside.
Thompson, who has become the heart and soul of SNL during his tenure, has repeatedly said he has no plans to quit SNL even with its ever-expanding portfolio.
“It’s the best job in the world,” Thompson said recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “I can’t see myself just walking away from it like that, even with how busy I’ve been with another show on NBC called Bring the Funny.”
The unscripted Bring The Funny, a reality competition series, is one of his now-three series on NBC.
Still, some accommodations are expected to be made for Thompson to be able to do both SNL in some capacity and the primetime comedy, including possibly moving production on the sitcom from Los Angeles to New York where SNL is based, or launching the new series in midseason to better fit into the SNL schedule.
This pilot season, Thompson flew to Los Angeles, filmed five days of the Kenan Show pilot, flew back to tape SNL, and then back again for five more days of filming of the pilot before taking the red-eye to return to New York. Then during the recent short SNL hiatus, he shot NBC’s Bring the Funny. That is a brutal schedule to maintain.
Written by Jackie Clarke and directed and executive produced by Chris Rock, The Kenan Show is a family comedy that centers on Kenan (Thompson), who strives to be a super dad to his two adorable girls (Dani Lockett and Dannah Lockett) while simultaneously balancing his job and a father-in-law (Andy Garcia) who “helps” in the most inappropriate ways. Punam Patel also co-stars.
Thompson, Clarke and Rock executive produce with Michaels and Andrew Singer for Broadway Video. The Kenan Show is produced by Universal Television in association with Broadway Video.
Thompson and Michaels have a close relationship, and Michaels has been very supportive of the comedy star, so the two are expected to make a plan that works for all.