CBS has given a series order to United States of Al, its multi-camera comedy pilot from Chuck Lorre, David Goetsch and Maria Ferrari. The intention is for the newly picked-up series starring Adhir Kalyan and Parker Young to air during the 2020-21 broadcast season, which is being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The series-pickup announcement comes on Veterans Day, fitting for a show whose co-lead character is a veteran. The order also brings the number of Lorre’s comedy series on CBS to five, with United States of Al joining the most-watched comedy series on broadcast, Young Sheldon; No. 2 comedy Mom; last season’s most-watched new comedy series, Bob ♥ Abishola; and this season’s newcomer B Positive. This is a new high-water mark for Lorre, whose previous record was four series on the network. Lorre also has the Golden Globe-winning Netflix comedy series The Kominsky Method, bringing his tally to six on-air series.
That equals the record held by TV icon Norman Lear, who had six primetime network comedies on during the 1975-76 season.
This is the first time in a long time that Lorre has done two pilots in the same cycle with B Positive and United States of Al, both of which went to series. B Positive was the only 2020 broadcast pilot to be completed during the pandemic-shortened regular pilot season. Of the remaining CBS pilots, comedies United States of Al and Wilde Things (fka The Big Bad Wolfes) recently were shot. There is no decision yet on the latter, which stars Modern Family alumna Julie Bowen.
Created and written by Goetsch and Ferrari, United States Of Al is about the friendship between Riley (Young), a Marine combat veteran struggling to readjust to civilian life in Ohio, and Awalmir (Al) (Kalyan), the Interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan and has just arrived to start a new life in America. Kelli Goss, Dean Norris and Elizabeth Alderfer also star. Goetsch & Ferrari, Lorre, Reza Aslan, Mahyad Tousi and director Mark Cendrowski (pilot only) are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions.
“Once again, Chuck, his talented writing team of Maria and David and an amazing cast brings us a heartfelt and touching comedy that honestly and respectfully reflects the experiences and challenges our veterans deal with upon returning home and the deep bonds they develop with those serving alongside them,” said Thom Sherman Sr. EVP Programming at CBS Entertainment. “In addition, United States of Al holds up a mirror to ourselves in a unique way by taking a look at American culture through the eyes of an immigrant who is experiencing it all for the very first time.”