House alum Kal Penn is set to co-star opposite Chris Smith in Rob Greenberg’s single-camera comedy pilot for CBS Ex-Men. The project, from CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co., centers on a young guy (Smith) who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex. Penn, repped by Gersh and Industry, will play the co-lead Gil, who was caught having the world’s worst affair and now lives in the complex until he can convince his wife to take him back. This extends Penn’s relationship with CBS. This past season, the Harold And Kumar star recurred on the network’s comedy series How I Met Your Mother. He also recently toplined ABC’s comedy pilot Prairie Dogs.
Christopher Nicholas Smith (Paranormal Activity 3) has been cast as the lead in Rob Greenberg’s single-camera comedy pilot for CBS Ex-Men. The project, from CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co., centers on a young guy (Smith) who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex. This past season, Upright Citizens Brigade performer Smith co-starred in another CBS single-camera pilot, Nick Stoller’s Entry Level, which came close to a series order. After once again sticking to all multi-camera comedy series, the early pilot order to Ex-Men supports CBS’ stated commitment to the single-camera genre. The project was originally developed at CBS five years ago. Smith is with Paradigm and Prinicpato Young.
We’re about a week from starting to get more definitive feedback on this year’s pilots when the networks start screening them. That is probably my favorite part of pilot season, when dark horses and underdogs that had stayed largely under the radar suddenly race to the front of the pack. Until then, here are how pilots stack up now based on inherently subjective intel.
Chuck Lorre’s Mom stamped its ticket to the fall schedule with a very well received taping on Friday night, so there goes the assured multi-camera CBS slot for next season, likely Mondays 8:30 PM. The Robin Williams starrer Crazy Ones looks pretty solid on the single-camera side. If CBS decides to go with multiple new multi-camera series, Friends With Better Lives and the untitled Greg Garcia project appear particularly strong (It is still early on the Tad Quill pilot starring Matthew Broderick). On the single-camera side, The McCarthys has buzz, with Ex-Men, Bad Teacher, Super Clyde and Rottenberg/Zuritsky also in the mix.
On the drama side, Beverly Hills Cop is entering the screening stage as a frontrunner. Hostages also looks strong, possibly for midseason given its serialized nature. The in-house CBS contenders include the NCIS: LA spinoff, The Surgeon General and The Ordained, while Intelligence is led by the type of hunky actor, Josh Holloway, CBS brass love. (Alex O’Loughlin anyone?) Wild cards include Hart Hanson’s Backstrom.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS has filled the last key role in its untitled Rob Greenberg comedy pilot. Jerry O’Connell has joined the single-camera project, from CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co, which revolves around four guys played by O’Connell, Chris Smith, Kal Penn and Tony Shalhoub. It centers on twentysomething Carter (Smith), who finds camaraderie living among three more experienced men — Gil (Penn), Frank (Shalhoub) and Stuart (O’Connell) — he meets in a short-term rental complex. Stuart is a feisty conservative and a successful OB/GYN with a booming practice who is in the middle of his second painful divorce.
CBS originally gave the project an off-cycle pilot order in early July. Within two weeks, Smith and Penn were cast. Shalhoub came on board in mid-August, but casting of the fourth male lead stalled with the producers not being able to settle on an actor despite a series of tests. O’Connell was not available at the time as he had been cast as Herman Munster in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane before the CBS pilot was greenlighted.
EXCLUSIVE: CBS‘ off-cycle untitled Rob Greenberg comedy pilot will be shot in-cycle after production has been pushed to January. The project, from CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co., centers on a young guy (Chris Smith) who finds camaraderie living among three more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex, including Gil (Kal Penn) and Frank (Tony Shalhoub).
CBS gave the project an off-cycle pilot order on July 10. Two weeks later, it cast Smith and Penn. Shalhoub came on board in mid-August but casting of the fourth male lead stalled. Shalhoub signed for the pilot a week after an announcement that he will star in Lincoln Center Theater’s 75th anniversary production of Clifford Odets’ Golden Boy on Broadway, beginning November 8. The plan was for him to shoot the pilot before segueing to stage rehearsals. But because of difficulties casting the fourth lead, production on the pilot was postponed, missing the window of availability for both Shalhoub and Penn, who has other TV commitments this fall as well. The two will be able to return in January, which is the new target production start date for the pilot.
Clint Eastwood’s memorable cameo at the recent Republican National Convention was supposed to be kept secret. But it’s widely known that Obama Campaign Co-Chair Eva Longoria, formerly of ABC’s Desperate Housewives, is scheduled to speak during this week’s Democratic National Convention. After stumping for Obama in 2008, and hosting Florida’s Women’s Summit in early August, the Latina activist will be one of 9 women addressing the convention from the podium in Charlotte. But far less publicized is that Kal Penn will host a portion of the DNC’s official gavel-to-gavel livestream. That’s right, the 35-year-old Harold & Kumar stoner star and one-time Houseregular who also worked on Barack Obama’s first campaign and on his arts policy committee and later in his White House. Now he’s back in the thick of Democratic politics. The Indian-American from New Jersey has been visiting 2012 battleground states drumming up Obama support among young voters. One report claims he’ll take the podium during Tuesday night’s DNC program. But his starring role comes Thursday when he’s hosting a web-only convention special called “Live From Charlotte” starting at 8 PM ET. It will include interviews with campaign officials and Obama supporter celebs including singer Marc Anthony, film actress Elizabeth Banks, CBS’ The Talk cohost Aisha Tyler, TV/film actress Olivia Wilde, The Nanny and now TVLand sitcom star Fran Drescher, TV/film star Zach Braff, and Gilmore Girls‘ Alexis Bledel.
Penn is returning to TV in Rob Greenberg’s single-camera comedy pilot for CBS titled Ex-Men. This past season, he recurred on that network’s How I Met Your Mother. He also recently toplined ABC’s comedy pilot Prairie Dogs. But he’s probably best known for leaving Fox drama House and acting for a 2-year stint at the White House as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement (under his real name, Kalpen Modi). ”It felt worth trying to be part of such a pivotal moment in history,” Penn told Deadline afterwards. ”And let’s face it, people don’t go into acting for the career stability. You do it because you’re passionate. I found the same true about public service.”
Tony Shalhoub is set to co-star opposite Chris Smith and Kal Penn in Rob Greenberg’s single-camera comedy pilot for CBS. The project, from CBS TV Studios and the Tannenbaum Co., centers on a young guy (Smith) who finds camaraderie living among the more experienced guys he meets in a short-term rental complex, including Gil (Penn) and Frank (Shalhoub). According to TVLine, Frank is a four-time divorcé who still fancies himself a ladies man and dwells in the complex’s bachelor pad. Emmy-winning former Monk star Shalhoub did Greg Daniels’ comedy pilot Friday Night Dinner this past season.
‘Backstrom’ Crime Drama From ‘Bones’ Creator Hart Hanson And 20th TV Gets Pilot Production Commitment At CBS
EXCLUSIVE: Bones creator/showrunner Hart Hanson is staying on the crime beat with another hourlong project based on the work of a real-life crime expert. CBS has bought Backstrom, a drama based on the Backstrom books by renowned Swedish criminologist and novelist Leif G.W. Persson, with a pilot production commitment — the biggest commitment for a pitch so far this season. (CBS also recently took an early jump on pilot orders with an off-cycle pickup of the Rob Greenberg comedy Ex-Men.)
Person’s book series centers on Evert Backstrom. Sometimes described as a detective version of Dr. Gregory House, he is an overweight, offensive, irascible detective as he tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior. Hanson will write the script and executive produce the project with Persson and his Scandinavian literary agent Niclas Salomonsson.
CBS is known to take shots at its competitors, and the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler came out swinging this morning. She walked out on stage for the CBS TCA executive session carrying a plush monkey, a jab at NBC, which brought in the monkey from its new comedy series Animal Practice to its TCA presentation and party, where she shared the lion’s share of attention with fellow guest Sarah Palin.
“It’s been a TCA full of cell phone announcements from the stage, monkeys, Sarah Palin, renegotiations. I couldn’t resist,” Tassler said of the TCA events from this past week that also included Fox Entertainment president calling new American Idol judge Mariah Carey during Fox’s executive session. While boasting about CBS’ ratings success (the network finished again as the most watched network and No. 2 in 18-49 to Fox this past season), Tassler took issue with another comment from Reilly who said on Monday that Fox’s reign as the top network among adults 18-49 may come to an end next season when CBS has the Super Bowl and AFC Championship Game. “According to Kevin Reilly ‑‑ thank you, Kevin ‑‑ we’ve just been awarded the 18‑49 crown for next year. Thanks, Kevin, but I think we’ll try to earn it before we claim it.”
Tassler confirmed that the network is in talks with 20th Century Fox TV and creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas for a ninth season of veteran comedy How I Met Your Mother. (Tassler’s “pet monkey” wore a HIMYM tie too!) “The show had an incredible year last year,” Tassler said. “We’re having conversations right now about extending it, we want the show to come back next year. We’re still in early conversations, we’re not there yet in terms of resolving the situation, but we’re pretty optimistic.” Talks for a potential Season 9 are starting early because of the concept of HIMYM, which will lead to the reveal of who the mother is, so planning for a final season has to start way in advance. “Craig and Carter have a very strategic wrapup for the show,” Tassler said.
And so it begins. CBS has picked up Ex-Men, a new comedy from Rob Greenberg, as the network’s first pilot order of the 2013-2014 season. Written and directed by Greenberg, it details the exploits of a young man learning the ways of the world from the older and more experienced men in his short-term rental complex. Greenberg, an executive producer on the network’s comedy How I Met Your Mother, will produce the single-camera comedy with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum and CBS Studios. Ex-Men has been kicking around for a few years, but with buying season starting the comedy was still acquired ahead of any dramas. Greenberg is repped by ICM Partners and Management 360.