Fox Aims To Wean Itself Off Pilot Cycle As It Steps Up Comedy Push

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Fox is set to order a handful of comedy and drama pilots in January with a view to move completely off-cycle.

This comes as the network steps up its push into comedy after not having any new live-action comedies on the fall schedule, with particularly high hopes for Carla, starring and exec produced by The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik and exec produced by her former co-star Jim Parsons. It is based on British comedy Miranda.

“We’re going to order a couple to several drama and comedy pilots in January but we’re also doing off-cycle. We’re not going to do all of our ordering in January; our hope is to be completely off-cycle,” Fox president of entertainment Michael Thorn told Deadline. “We’re looking at ordering things when they’re ready and backing off the traditional cycle and looking to set series up for success.”

On the comedy front, one of the reasons that the network will likely pilot off-cycle is the fact that Julia Franz, who joined as SVP and Head of Comedy in September, has not been with the network long.

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Multi-camera comedy Carla, which is set to undergo a title change and hails from Warner Bros TV in association with That’s Wonderful Productions, Sad Clown Productions and BBC Studios, was handed a series order for fall 2020, while the network handed a series order to off-cycle animation series Housebroken (formerly Therapy Dog), which has been in development for a while. The half-hour project, originally picked up by the network with a script plus presentation commitment, stars Lisa KudrowVeep’s Clea Duvall and Nat Faxon and hails from writer-producer-actress Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Divorce), DuVall, writer-producers Jennifer Crittenden & Gabrielle Allan, and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment.

Fox has bought a slew of comedy projects this year, as Thorn said the network “is going for it,” including an Ali Larter single-mom cheerleader comedy, marriage comedy People Person, family comedy Tough Love, Football Book Club and a U.S. version of BBC comedy This Country. Drama buys include Nick Stoller and Carla Kettner’s Florida Man, Berlanti Productions’ Jamie Lee Curtis drama Chain of Command and a remake of British legal drama Silent Witness.

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