EXCLUSIVE: Having just released Unvarnished, her first new album since 2006, iconic punk rocker Joan Jett is returning to the big screen — both in front of and behind it. Along with her Blackheart Films partners Kenny Laguna and Carianne Brinkman, Jett is executive producing the dark indie romantic comedy Undateable John. She will play a Venice Beach surf punk musician who befriends misfit lovebirds Jane (Estella Warren) and former pro surfer John (John Philbin) at an AA meeting. The recovery tale, directed by Demian Lichtenstein from a script by Cynthia Posner, also stars Daryl Hannah, Tom Arnold, Margaret Cho, Meredith Baxter, and Shannen Doherty. Jett’s most recent screen foray came as exec producer of the story about the formation and breakup of her groundbreaking punk band dramatized in The Runaways, which cast Twilight Saga‘s Kristen Stewart. Jett is no stranger to acting; she starred with Michael J. Fox in 1987′s Light Of Day and appeared on Broadway in a early 2000s revival of The Rocky Horror Show. Undateable John is shooting now in LA, and Jett’s supplying tunes for the soundtrack.
EXCLUSIVE: Briga Heelan is making a return to NBC/Warner Bros.’s midseason series Undateable, re-joining the Bill Lawrence comedy as a recurring. She will reprise the role of Nicki she played in the pilot as a guest star. The bromantic comedy centers on Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Heelan first came into the Lawrence/Warner Bros. family in March when she was cast as the female lead in the TBS comedy pilot Ground Floor. A month later, she was brought in as a last-minute replacement of originally cast series regular Aly Michalka in the Undateable pilot. Because of her commitment to Ground Floor, Heelan did the NBC pilot as a guest star. Then on May 10, within a few hours both Ground Floor and Undateable were picked up to series. Lawrence wanted Heelan for both shows, and the studio tried to make things work but ultimately the verdict was that the dates could not be worked out, and Megan Park was cast in the Nicki role as a new regular. But meanwhile, the schedules for Ground Floor and Undateable were synched up enough for Heelan to be able to do the NBC comedy on a recurring basis without interfering with her starring duties on the TBS sitcom. (Both comedies are multi-camera, which require fewer production days than single-camera shows.) …
EXCLUSIVE: The Secret Life Of The American Teenager co-star Megan Park has been cast as a regular on NBC’s midseason multi-camera comedy series Undateable, from Warner Bros. TV and Bill Lawrence’s Doozer Prods. The bromantic comedy centers on Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Park will play Nicki, the eternally optimistic young waitress who is a recent transplant to Detroit from a small town in the Upper Peninsula. She’s treated like a little sister by all the regulars at Justin’s bar, but Justin secretly has feelings for her. The role has been vacant since originally cast Aly Michalka exited before the taping of the pilot. Briga Heelan, stepped in at the last minute to play the role in the pilot as a guest star as she was the female lead in Lawrence’s TBS comedy pilot Ground Floor, which was picked up to series the same day as Undateable, making her unavailable to continue on the NBC show. This is one of two regular roles on Undateable that have been recast. In the other one, David Flynn replaced Matthew Wilkas. Park is with Paradigm and Joannie Burstein.
David Fynn has landed a regular role on NBC’s midseason comedy Undateable, from executive producer Bill Lawrence and Warner Bros TV. The bromantic comedy centers on Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Flynn, repped by Luber Roklin, Gersh and Shepherd Management in the UK, will play Brett, Justin’s gay and prohibitively picky undateable friend who always finds something wrong with a guy. He replaces Matthew Wilkas, who plated the role in the pilot. This is one of two re-castings on Undateable after it was picked up to series. The series also is looking for an actress to replace Briga Heelan, who co-starred in the pilot as a guest star as she had already been cast as the female lead in the TBS pilot Ground Floor, which went to series.
There will be some recasting on NBC’s newly picked up multi-camera comedy series Undateable, from Warner Bros. TV and Bill Lawrence’s Doozer Prods. The bromantic comedy centers on Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. One of the recastings was expected. It involves Briga Heelan, who stepped in at the last minute to replace originally cast Aly Michalka. Heelan plays the female lead in Lawrence’s TBS comedy Ground Floor, which was picked up to series the same day as Undateable. Her casting as a guest star on Undateable stemmed from her relationship with Lawrence and Warners on Ground Floor. There was an effort to find a way for her to do both series but that proved impossible, so the role on Undateable, Maddie, a waitress in Justin’s (Morin) bar who is endlessly attracted to jerks and bad pickup lines, will now be recast. Also leaving the project is Matthew Wilkas, who played Brett, Justin’s gay and prohibitively picky undateable friend who always finds something wrong with a guy.
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2ND UPDATE 11:05 AM: The Chicago Fire franchise is expanding on NBC as the network has picked up Chicago PD, a spinoff from Chicago Fire, to series. That brings Dick Wolf’s series on NBC next season to 3, including the recently renewed Law & Order: SVU and Chicago Fire. Chicago PD originated as a back-door pilot in the first season finale of Chicago Fire. We’re still waiting for the resolution of the NBC-Sony TV negotiations that involve three pilots in contention, dramas Blacklist and Night Shift and comedy Welcome To The Family, as well as bubble comedy Community.
UPDATE, 9:54 AM: Also getting a pickup is drama Ironside, a reboot of the 1967 series, with Blair Underwood in the title role. Ken Sanzel is in negotiations to serve as showrunner on the project, written/exec produced by Mike Caleo. Universal TV is the studio.
PREVIOUS, 9:35 AM: I’ve learned that NBC has kicked off the second day of new series pickups with an order to the Bill Lawrence-produced comedy Undateable, written by Adam Sztykiel. It stars Chris D’Elia, who became officially available yesterday when NBC cancelled Whitney. This marks the second pickup for Lawrence, who also is producing new Fox comedy series Surviving Jack, and the second new series at NBC for Warner Bros., which also has J.J. Abrams’ Believe.
Here are the network’s descriptions of the new series:
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is making a casting change on Undateable, its multicamera comedy pilot from Bill Lawrence and Warner Bros TV. Aly Michalka has departed the project, which is taping Thursday. I hear she will be replaced with Briga Heelan, who last month was cast as the female lead of another Bill Lawrence/Warner Bros TV multi-camera comedy pilot, TBS’ Ground Floor. Because of her relationship with the producers, Heelan has been able to quickly step into Undateable, in which she is being cast as a guest star because of her existing commitment to Ground Floor. (Undateable will actually film before the TBS pilot.)
Matthew Wilkas (Gayby) has joined NBC’s multicamera comedy pilot Undateable, a bromantic comedy about Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Wilkas plays Brett, Justin’s (Brent Morin) gay and prohibitively picky undateable friend who always finds something wrong with a guy.
EXCLUSIVE: Rules Of Engagement‘s Bianca Kajlich and Aly Michalka (Hellcats) have joined Undateable, NBC’s multicamera comedy pilot from Bill Lawrence and Warner Bros TV. Written by Adam Sztykiel based on the book by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle, Undateable is described as a bromantic comedy about Danny (Chris D’Elia) and Justin (Brent Morin) — two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Kajlich, repped by UTA, The Collective and Warren Dern, plays Danny’s (D’Elia) older sister Leslie, a divorced single mom who works as a wine rep to get free booze and meet guys; a straight shooter, she tells it like it is. Michalka, repped by CAA and Principato-Young, plays Maddie, an attractive waitress in Justin’s (Morin) bar who is endlessly attracted to jerks and bad pickup lines … but could she have a sweet spot for Justin? Kajlich is the latest Rules Of Engagement star to book a pilot, joining David Spade and Patrick Warburton. As original cast members, the trio’s deals are up at the end of this season. Additionally, newer Rules cast member Adhir Kalyan also landed a pilot gig in second position. Michalka will next be seen in Grown Ups 2.
Actor-comedian Ron Funches (Disney XD’s Crash & Bernstein) has been added to the NBC/WBTV comedy pilot Undateable, about a group of date-challenged friends whose lives are forever altered when a more confident character (Chris D’Elia) enters their world. Funches, repped by APA, Truhett Garcia Management and attorney Lev Ginsburg, plays Shelly, an odd, shy musician member of the group whose appeal to women comes to life when he’s performing. He also is a writer for The Kroll Show.
Gregory Harrison has been cast in CBS‘ Charleston, SC-set drama pilot Reckless, which centers on Jamie (Anna Wood), a gorgeous Yankee litigator, and Roy (Cam Gigandet), a Southern City Attorney, who struggle to hide their intense attraction while clashing over a police sex scandal. Harrison, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Himber Entertainment, plays Dec, a polished, well-connected Charleston attorney who is Roy’s ex-father-in-law and mentor.
Matt Craven has been cast in ABC’s drama pilot The Returned. The project, from Brillstein Entertainment, Brad Pitt’s Plan B and ABC Studios, is based on the upcoming novel by Jason Mott. Written by Aaron Zelman and directed by Charles McDougall, it chronicles how the lives of the people in Arcadia are forever changed when their deceased loved ones return. Craven will play Fred, the local Sheriff who has been a widower ever since his wife died in an accident 32 years ago. Craven, repped by Frontline Management’s Craig Dorfman and SDB Partners, recurs as Secretary of the Navy Clayton Jarvis on NCIS and just wrapped Roland Emmerich’s White House Down.
NBC has bought Undateable, a buddy comedy from Bill Lawrence and Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Made Of Honor). The multi-camera project, which has received a script commitment with penalty, is based on the book Undateable: 311 Things Guys Do That Guarantee They Won’t Be Dating Or Having Sex, by Ellen Rakieten & Anne Coyle. Written by Sztykiel with Lawrence supervising, it is described as a bromantic comedy about two very different guys who are bonded by their common inability to attract women. Sztykiel and Lawrence will executive produce with Jeff Ingold for Warner Bros TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer.
The book lists things that would render men undateable, rating them by level of offense. The list includes such no-nos as wearing socks with sandals, pleated shorts or soul patches or jogging in place at stoplights. Ingold found the book, which was optioned by Warner Bros TV, and Sztykiel was brought in to write the script.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has put in development a multi-camera comedy produced by Bill Lawrence. Written by Dan Lagana, co-creator of the MTV series Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, Stand-Up Guy centers on a young comedian who pursues his lifelong dream of being a working stand-up while juggling the growing responsibilities of being a husband and soon-to-be-father at home. Warner Bros TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer are producing, with Lagana, Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive producing. Lagana, repped by CAA and Karl Austen, also developed a dad comedy with WBTV two seasons ago when the project sold to Fox. ICM-repped Doozer, which has four series on the air – Cougar Town on TBS and upcoming Ground Floor on TBS, Surviving Jack on Fox and Undateable on NBC — also has a Jeff Astrof multi-camera comedy project at CBS with a put pilot commitment.
UPDATE: NBC Cancels ‘Welcome To The Family’ & ‘Ironside’, Gives ‘Sean Saves The World’ Script Order, Sets Premiere Dates For ‘Community’ & ‘Chicago PD’
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:
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation with multiple networks chasing, Fox has landed Chasing Skips, an hourlong action-comedy project from Cougar Town executive producer/showrunner Blake McCormick and the series’ co-creator Bill Lawrence. Written by McCormick, Chasing Skips centers on two down-on-their-luck guys in search of a way to improve their lives who decide to enter the world of bounty hunting, despite having no experience and very few skills. Warner Bros TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer are producing, with McCormick, Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive producing. Chasing Skips stems from a blind script deal McCormick inked with Warner Bros TV through Doozer in May in conjunction with his appointment as new showrunner of Cougar Town for its upcoming fifth season.
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation with multiple networks bidding, CBS has nabbed a multi-camera family comedy from comedy veterans Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) and Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence with a put pilot commitment. Written by Astrof, Middlescence centers on a married couple that struggles to raise four adolescents: their two kids, her older brother and his mother. Warner Bros. TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer Prods. are producing, with Astrof and Doozer’s Lawrence and Jeff Ingold executive producing. The family comedy stems from Astrof’s relationship with Lawrence, Doozer and Warners on the upcoming TBS comedy Ground Floor, co-created/executive produced by Lawrence. In June, Astrof, repped by ICM Partners and Michael Gendler, was brought in as executive producer/showrunner of the series in a deal that also included a two-script development deal with Warner Bros. TV. This marks the first sale this season for ICM-repped Doozer, which has four series on the air, returning Cougar Town on TBS and upcoming Ground Floor on TBS, Surviving Jack on Fox and Undateable on NBC.
Matthew Vafiadis and Jennifer Danska have joined Relativity Television‘s Ellen Rakieten Entertainment as SVP Development. Both will report directly to Ellen Rakieten. Vafiadis previously served as Development and Current Executive at BBC Worldwide & Adjacent Productions, where he managed the sales of series, specials, original formats and UK reformats. While at BBC he executive produced What Not To Wear (TLC) and developed and executive produced Breaking Pointe (CW) and Big Brooklyn Style (TLC). Danska previously served as SVP of Development and Current at Kinetic Entertainment. There she executive produced Perez Hilton All-Access (CW/ITV2), and worked on such shows as Betty White’s Off Their Rockers (NBC) and You Deserve It (ABC).
EXCLUSIVE: Comedy veteran Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of TBS’ new comedy series Ground Floor, from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer and Warner Horizon. Additionally, Astrof has signed a two-script development deal with Warner Bros. TV. Ground Floor, which Cougar Town co-creator Lawrence wrote with Greg Malins, is a workplace comedy with a romantic twist that stars Skylar Astin, Briga Heelan and John C. McGinley. Astrof will serve as executive producer alongside Lawrence and Jeff Ingold. The project, which received a 10-episode series order last month, has been looking for a showrunner as Lawrence also landed two new series on the broadcast networks for next season, Undateable on NBC and Surviving Jack on Fox. Astrof, repped by ICM Partners and Michael Gendler, most recently wrote and executive produced the multi-camera version of John Leguizamo’s family comedy pilot King John, which was shot and was in serious contention for a series pickup. Last season, he also sold multi-camera comedy project Fat, Forty And Fired to ABC with a put pilot commitment.
2013-14 NBC New Series
About A Boy – Based on the best-selling Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity,” “An Education”) novel, writer Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights,” “Parenthood”) and director Jon Favreau (“Iron Man,” “Revolution”) present a different kind of coming-of-age story. Will Freeman (David Walton, “Bent,” “Perfect Couples”) lives a charmed existence as the ultimate man-child. After writing a hit song, he was granted a life of free time, free love and freedom from financial woes. He’s single, unemployed and loving it. So imagine his surprise when Fiona (Minnie Driver, “Good Will Hunting,” “Barney’s Version”), a needy single mom and her oddly charming 11-year-old son, Marcus (Benjamin Stockham, “1600 Penn”), move in next door and disrupt his perfect world. When Marcus begins dropping by his home unannounced, Will’s not so sure about being a kid’s new best friend, until, of course, Will discovers that women find single dads irresistible. That changes everything and a deal is struck: Marcus will pretend to be Will’s son and, in return, Marcus is allowed to chill at Will’s house. Before he realizes it, Will starts to enjoy the visits and even finds himself looking out for the kid. In fact, this newfound friendship may very well teach him a thing or two that he never imagined possible — about himself and caring for others. Writer Jason Katims, director Jon Favreau, Tim Bevan (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Eric Fellner (“Les Misérables,” “About a Boy”), Liza Chasin (“Les Misérables,” “About …