UPDATE, 1:55 PM: I’ve learned that NBC‘s other new Thursday comedy awaiting word on its fate, Sean Saves The World, has received an order for 4 additional scripts. While the series posted a 1.1 in adults 18-49 last night, same as freshly cancelled Ironside, it does build on its Welcome To The Family lead-in (0.9 last night), and NBC brass have been encouraged with the show’s creative direction. The third new NBC comedy, The Michael J. Fox Show, has a 22-episode order.
PREVIOUS 13:35: NBC has pulled Ironside and Welcome To The Family three weeks into their freshman runs. Welcome To The Family is gone effective immediately, while Ironside will air one more episode next Wednesday before falling off the schedule. Beginning October 30, repeats, Dateline and specials will air in Ironside’s 10 PM berth until January 8, when Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago P.D. will debut in the slot that successfully launched the mothership series last season. On Thursdays, NBC will air a mix of back-to-back Parks And Recreation episodes and various specials for the next two months, with veteran Community launching its fifth season on January 2 with back-to-back episodes from 8-9 PM before moving to its old 8 PM slot, with current occupant Parks And Rec sliding to Welcome To The Family‘s 8:30 PM period beginning with the January 9 episode, the show’s 100th. Ironside and Welcome To The Family have been among NBC’s lowest-rated series on the air. In their most recent airings, Ironside logged a 1.1 in 18-49, flat with the previous week and the same as Sean Saves The World, while Welcome To The Family was up a tenth to a 0.9. Here is a rundown of NBC’s plans for the two time periods: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: What happens when you put one of the stars with the largest cult following, Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion, on one of the top cult shows, NBC‘s Community? We’ll find out later this season when Fillion guests on the upcoming fifth season of Community. When Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey (guest star Jonathan Banks) team up to navigate Greendale’s corridors of power, they must contend with Bob Waite (Fillion), the politically savvy head custodian who’s not afraid to get his hands dirty but is smart enough to wear rubber gloves. Fillion is a fan of Community who has visited the set of the NBC show, including posting this photo with Community cast members last year with the caption, “It’s my #community dream come true!” This marks a return to comedy for Fillion who got his break on ABC’s Two Guys And A Girl before entering the Joss Whedon universe with Firefly, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Serenity. ICM Partners-repped Fillion currently stars on the ABC crime drama Castle, now in its sixth season.
Related: ‘Castle’ Star Nathan Fillion Sidelined With Back Problems
EXCLUSIVE: Besides being a comedy star, Community and The Hangover standout Ken Jeong is a licensed physician. His life before going into comedy will be the subject of Dr. Ken, a multi-camera comedy that has landed at NBC with a significant penalty. Feature comedy writer Jared Stern (The Internship) is writing the project, from Community producer Sony Pictures TV and John Davis and John Fox’s studio-based Davis Entertainment. Stern, Davis and Fox executive produce, with Jeong co-executive producing. Jeong is a regular on Community, whose upcoming fifth season is rumored to be the cult comedy’s last — but that is never certain as Community has defied the odds before. But even if Community continues for another season and Dr. Ken goes to series, things could be worked out as both shows are with NBC and Sony TV. Read More »
The difference between making Adult Swim’s new animated half hour Rick And Morty, and making NBC’s live-action comedy Community at Sony, is that Adult Swim exec vp Mike Lazzo is “a bona fide genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Dan Harmon said this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Harmon came to the tour today to talk about Rick And Morty, the comedy about a genius inventor grandfather and his less-than-genius grandson that Harmon is doing with creator Justin Roiland. But Harmon is best known for creating and exec producing Community, for being sacked from the show last season because of his behavior, for being brought back to the show for its fifth when the fourth one tanked, for saying that watching the fourth season of Community was like “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” and then issuing a mealy-mouthed apology.
“[Lazzo] has the autonomy and the humility and the mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is, a document, read it and then tell you what his reactions are to it as an individual,” Harmon continued, answering the which-place-is-better question. “He never says ‘I don’t think people are going to like this’. He never branches out into the business of speculating into the biomass for which we are creating this opiate. He never says ‘people are going to react this way’ and he never confuses the script for the final product,” Harmon said. Then he added: “On the NBC side, it’s even better.” Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
Although Community creator Dan Harmon offered up few reveals about the cult comedy show’s fifth season at its Hall H Comic-Con panel today, he used the platform to champion the fans to demand a sixth season and a movie with the Twitter campaign #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE. “I created a machine that eats pain and craps joy. The people in this room gave us five seasons. It’s about legacy and six seasons and a movie,” exclaimed Harmon to the throng of screaming fans. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me,” Harmon told moderator Chris Hardwick, “I don’t consider these the last 13. I will do everything I can to get us the sixth season.”
Still undetermined is when Community will air on NBC next spring. As far as new storylines, Harmon — who didn’t brainstorm any during his time off — only said, “We need to re-establish these characters. I don’t want to plan too hard. We’re taking a different approach in the writers room, and we’ll be done shooting by Christmas.” Harmon also mentioned that he wouldn’t undo the story arcs laid out in Season 4 in an effort to maintain the show’s “organic spirit” and apologized again to fans for his snarky podcast remarks slamming Community’s recent run. Read More »
UPDATE: Dan Harmon took to Twitter and his blog to apologize for the “very un-Community” comments in Sunday’s podcast rant. He offered a mea culpa to the show’s fans, its crew, and the writers on the fourth season that Harmon was absent for: “I’m sorry I pooped on your work.” Harmon also apologized for using language that “dehumanize[d] the developmentally disabled” and for “using the word ‘rape’ in a comedic context.” Harmon’s now back at work on Community Season 5.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: At Sunday’s taping of his Harmontown podcast, returning Community creator and exec producer Dan Harmon unloaded on the show’s fourth season, which carried on under writers David Guarascio and Moses Port after NBC replaced Harmon as showrunner last year. “It’s very much like an impression and an unflattering one,” he said. “It’s 13 episodes of ‘I’m Dan Harmon!’ I’m going back to work tomorrow morning and I’m just like, do I talk like that?” Harmon, who is heading back for Season 5 with writer Chris McKenna, compared catching up on the Guarascio and Port-led fourth season to “flipping through Instagram watching your girlfriend blow a million [people].”
Related: Dan Harmon Reacts To His Dismissal As ‘Community’ Showrunner Read More »
After several weeks of negotiations, Community producer Sony Pictures TV just confirmed that there are deals in place for series creator/former showrunner Dan Harmon and former co-exec producer Chris McKenna to returning as executive producers for Season 5. Harmon will once again take the reins of the show as showrunner. The studio is not saying that the 13-episode fifth season will be the cult comedy’s final installment, though that’s what I’ve been hearing. Harmon announced his return to the show via Twitter a week ago. He was replaced as showrunner by David Guarascio and Moses Port in May 2012. As I reported, Guarascio and Port had a one-year deal and were approached about coming back but opted to move on.
Creator-Exec Producer Dan Harmon Tweets He’s Coming Back To ‘Community’; Dan Harmon & Chris McKenna Eye Return To ‘Community’ For Final Installment
EXCLUSIVE: Gillian Jacobs has landed the female lead in MGM’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the Steve Pink-directed sequel that stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott and her former Community co-star Chevy Chase. Jacobs has Walk Of Shame in the can, which she stars in opposite Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden, with Film District releasing September 20. Jacobs also will be seen this fall in the Jacob Vaughan-directed comedy Milo opposite Ken Marino and Peter Stormare, following its SXSW premiere. She also has the Thomas Beatty-directed Teddy Bears opposite Jason Ritter and Melanie Lynskey.
Related: Chevy Chase In For ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Sequel
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UPDATE: I hear that Harmon’s deal to return to Community is not done, and negotiations actually hit a snag yesterday but expectations are that things will be worked out and he will indeed officially come back. The deal with McKenna also has not been completed yet.
PREVIOUS: In response to a request on Twitter to “give us a straight answer,” Dan Harmon tweeted today, ”Yes yes yes! I’m back I’m back I’m back. You can thank @joelmchale.” And then this tweet: “Here are my “deal breakers” coming back to Community: Rhonda Robinson on props. Denise Pizzini on design. Ruthie Aslan in post. Tell Sony.” Followed by this: ”Also I would very much like it if @joelmchale @yvettenbrown @GillianJacobs @alisonbrie @dannypudi and @DonaldGlover were somehow involved.” As we reported at the time of NBC’s eleventh-hour renewal of Community, there had been interest in bringing back the series creator for what I heard was expected to be the final 13-episode season of the cult comedy. (It is not on NBC‘s fall schedule). Then I learned on Tuesday that both Harmon and key former Community writer-producer Chris McKenna were approached about rejoining the show for its final chapter. Harmon is currently unattached, while McKenna is under an overall deal at NBC sibling Universal TV. McKenna served as co-executive producer on the Sony TV-produced Community for its first three seasons, then left last May to move to Universal TV. Creator/executive producer Harmon … Read More »
As we reported at the time of NBC’s eleventh-hour renewal of Community, there had been interest in bringing back series creator Dan Harmon for what I hear is expected to be the final 13-episode season of the cult comedy. (It is not on NBC‘s fall schedule). I have learned that both Harmon and key former Community writer-producer Chris McKenna have been approached about rejoining the show for its final chapter. Harmon is currently unattached, while McKenna is under an overall deal at NBC sibling Universal TV. McKenna, who served as co-executive producer on the Sony TV-produced Community for its first three seasons, left last May to move to Uni TV. Creator/executive producer Harmon was replaced as showrunner by David Guarascio and Moses Port a couple of weeks later. I hear Guarascio and Port had a one-year deal and were approached about coming back but opted to move on.
Related: ‘Community’ Is Coming Back, Will Dan Harmon Return Too?
EXCLUSIVE: Winter’s Discontent is the 2008 Black List script by Paul Fruchbom which Sony acquired for Atlas Entertainment a few years back. The well-liked project, which taps into the current zeitgeist of adult comedies, is moving forward with Billy Crystal attached to star as a widower who moves into a reputed, active mature community in an attempt to reinvigorate his sex life. Frank Oz, director of such pics as In & Out and Death At A Funeral, has come aboard to helm. Sony Pictures will distribute domestically and has taken rights in select foreign territories. Atlas is producing and Sierra Pictures is financing. Sierra/Affinity starts foreign sales in Cannes. Charles Roven and Alex Gartner are producing. Exec producers are Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Kelly McCormick and Jake Kurily. Crystal recently starred in Parental Guidance and is next up in Monsters University from Pixar. He’s repped by CAA and managed by David Steinberg and Larry Brezner. Oz is repped by CAA. Read More »
In a repeat from last year, NBC‘s perennial bubble comedy Community just snagged a 13-episode renewal. There have been some significant changes on the show over the past 12 months though. When NBC renewed the show last May, it still had creator Dan Harmon as showrunner and Chevy Chase as co-star. Immediately after the upfronts, Harmon was replaced with David Guarascio and Moses Port. Then in November, Chase too departed. The bitter feud between Chase and Harmon was a major factor in destabilizating of the show for a couple of seasons, leading to public outbursts and profane voice messages. Now that Chase is gone, emotions have cooled down and all sides involved have had time to reflect, there is speculation that Harmon may come back, especially if this turns out to be Community‘s final chapter. (I’d heard that, with the show’s future at NBC in limbo, there were a number of suitors clamoring to pick up Community for a final installment.) There are no deals in place but I hear there certainly is interest in bringing Harmon back in some capacity.
After a couple of days of intense and complex negotiations between NBC and Sony TV, all four projects that were part of the talks received orders by NBC. That includes The Blacklist, the highest testing NBC drama pilots in 10 years, blended family comedy pilot Welcome To The Family and off-cycle medical drama pilot The Night Shift, all picked up to series. (Sony’s fifth pilot at NBC this year, comedy Brenda Forever, remains in contention.) And of course, Community. A day after the cult comedy ended its fourth season, it got a fifth. The renewal is for 13 episodes. Here are descriptions of NBC’s newly picked up Sony series:
For decades, ex-government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader, “The Office,” “Boston Legal”) has been one of the FBI’s Most Wanted fugitives. Brokering shadowy deals for criminals across the globe, Red was known by many as “The Concierge of Crime.” Now, he’s mysteriously surrendered to the FBI with an explosive offer: He will help catch a long-thought-dead terrorist, Ranko Zamani, under the condition that he speaks only to Elizabeth “Liz” Keen (Megan Boone, “Law & Order: Los Angeles”), an FBI profiler fresh out of Quantico. For Liz, it’s going to be one hell of a first day on the job. What follows is a twisting series of events as the race to stop … Read More »
It is not a huge bump (8% to 1.3/5 in 18-49, even with the show’s finale last year), but anything helps in complicated negotiations. That is what NBC and Community producer Sony TV are currently going through. The talks include five projects: Community, which looks hopeful for another, possibly shorter and possibly final, cycle; white-hot drama pilot Blacklist and comedy pilot Welcome To The Family, both of which look very good for a pickup; medical drama pilot Night Shift; and comedy pilot Brenda Forever, which is out of contention for fall but there is a possibility for a reshoot.
Unionization and the creation of a trade association topped the priorities at a visual effects biz town hall meeting Thursday in Los Angeles where hundreds of VFX professionals gathered to discuss the state of their troubled industry. Despite calls for solidarity within the global community and a general sense of accord, a tense volley of boos erupted halfway through the panel when Visual Effects Society rep Mike Chambers took the mic and mentioned the organization’s call for larger California subsidies made in an open letter last month. In the letter the VES had announced plans to hold a VFX Congress, which has yet to materialize. “What are you going to do?” shouted one audience member to Chambers, who had no answer for his group.
Related: VFX Oscar Protesters Grow To 400 As Pros Plead Their Case
The exchange highlighted the most crippling challenge currently facing VFX workers: With no organized body other than the strictly honorary VES, artists have no leverage as the current system continues to squeeze their employers for slim profit margins. Among the industry wide issues identified by keynote speaker Scott Squires: A flawed studio-VFX house business model, too much competition, and job-migrating subsidies. Panelists and audience members also decried the strains on health and home life endured by individual VFX artists at the bottom of the VFX food chain. Unpaid overtime, long work weeks and a lack of healthcare benefits are common for visual artists, who comprise one of the last remaining sectors in Hollywood that is not yet unionized.
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