Boo! NBC has pulled what was the last scheduled episode of cancelled freshman comedy Animal Practice, slated to air tomorrow night, Halloween. NBC was to keep Animal Practice on until Whitney takes over the Wednesday 8 PM slot next week. But a Sandy-related string of NBC pre-emptions included repeating the storm-impacted Monday edition of The Voice on Thursday, pre-empting NBC’s 8-10 PM comedy block. 30 Rock’s episode this week is election-themed, so it didn’t make sense to air it after next Tuesday’s election. Plus, the comedy is on a tight schedule to end its 13-episode final season before Community rejoins the lineup Feb. 7. So we’ve probably seen the last of Crystal the monkey’s hijinks as Animal Practice‘s run ends at 6 episodes.
That 1.0 adults 18-49 rating last night didn’t do flailing new NBC comedy Animal Practice any favors. The network just announced that Animal Practice will be replaced by Whitney, whose second season will premiere November 14. Animal Practice will remain on the air until then.
It has been a fast fall from grace for Animal Practice, whose pilot was previewed during NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics’ Closing Ceremony. But the comedy starring Justin Kirk and Crystal the monkey never found traction when it launched last month. Meanwhile, NBC signaled that it may have other plans in store for returning comedies Whitney and Community last week when it pushed back the shows’ scheduled Friday debut. Whitney and Guys With Kids are the only multi-camera comedies on NBC, and now they will run together. The move brings Whitney to the Wednesday 8 PM slot where it aired for the second half of last season. Will Community re-join NBC’s Thursday night next?
Accurate ratings for the night’s top attraction, the first Presidential Debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, won’t be available until later in the day. If the non-time zone adjusted fast nationals are any indication, the broadcast networks ran neck-in-neck in their coverage of the debate, with NBC in the lead.
Leading into the debate, NBC, ABC and CBS aired their regular lineups from 8-9 PM. There was some encouraging news for NBC’s freshman comedies Animal Practice (1.5/5) and especially Guys With Kids (1.8/5), which were up 7% and 13%, respectively, from their underwhelming time slot debuts last week for a rare Week 2 ratings bump. They were still topped in the hour by ABC’s comedies The Middle (2.2/7) and The Neighbors (2.0/6) but those shows were down 24% and 38%, respectively, from their openers last week. A dropoff for The Neighbors was expected as the rookie moved to its regular 8:30 PM slot after launching behind hit Modern Family last week. It also ranks as the most watched new comedy for a second consecutive week (6.6 million) and held onto an OK 91% of its Middle lead-in. Still, its predecessor in the slot, Suburgatory, was building on its Middle lead-in last fall. On Fox, The X Factor‘s first boot camp telecast (3.4/10) was up a tenth from the show’s fast national last Wednesday. Survivor: Philippines (2.9/9) was down a tenth …
EXCLUSIVE: There is a change at the helm of NBC‘s upcoming comedy series Animal Practice (formerly Animal Kingdom). Gail Lerner, who joined the show after the pilot as executive producer/showrunner, is departing, with Marco Pennette coming in as new showrunner. The gig is tied to a development deal for Pennette at Universal TV. To accommodate the change and give Pennette time to get up to speed, I hear that the series’ planned hiatus has been pushed up by a week. Animal Practice, which just wrapped Episode 3, was supposed to start Episode 4 right away and take a hiatus next week. It will take the week-long break now instead.
Created by feature writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, Animal Practice is a single-camera office comedy centered on a “House”-like veterinarian (Justin Kirk) who loves animals but usually hates their owners (especially the new woman who runs the clinic). On the Universal TV/American Work-produced series, Pennette will serve as an executive producer alongside Gatewood, Alex Tanaka, Ravi Nandan, Scot Armstrong and the pilot’s directors Anthony and Joe Russo. UTA-repped Pennette is a sought-after showrunner who is credited with helping get ABC’s Ugly Betty off the ground and was a key writer-producer on Desperate Housewives. This past season, he created the ABC comedy pilot The Manzanis starring Kirstie Alley and has another comedy with the Cheers alumna in consideration at …
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Will NBC be able to get the monkey off its back at these TCAs? If the fact that today’s panel on the new comedy series Animal Practice featured a live monkey “doctor” wearing tiny scrubs and driving a miniature ambulance is any indication, the answer is a resounding no. The driver was Crystal, the female capuchin monkey who portrays the show’s Dr. Rizzo, sidekick to veterinarian George Coleman (Justin Kirk). Crystal’s credits include The Hangover Part II and the Night At The Museum movies. She cruised onto the stage the near the end of the panel, her mini-ambulance siren blaring and lights flashing, and waved her little hand.
During this morning’s executive session, NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt lauded his beleaguered network for being “No. 3” (that is, not rock-bottom at No. 4) among adults 18-49. But the executive also admitted (with understatement) that NBC is “in a transition with our comedy programming” and said that new comedies, including Animal Practice, are aimed at broadening the comedy audience beyond that of its critically acclaimed but low-rated comedies including Community and Parks And Recreation. But both for Greenblatt and the producers of Animal Practice, today’s question has been: How broad is too broad? (Greenblatt had enough of a sense of humor to take the podium again to quote some of today’s mocking TCA tweets, including: “We’re proud to be No. 3, and we have a monkey!”)
Better With You star JoAnna Garcia has been tapped as the female lead opposite Justin Kirk in NBC’s new fall comedy series Animal Practice. The office comedy stars Kirk as George, a House-like veterinarian, who loves animals but usually hates their owners (especially the new woman who runs the clinic). Garcia will play that woman, George’s intelligent and beautiful old girlfriend, now engaged to another, who is assigned to run the animal hospital. Garcia replaces Amy Huberman who played the role in the pilot. Co-starring on the series, created by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, are Tyler Labine and Bobby Lee.
Garcia took a winding road to the fall schedule this season. She was originally attached to a multi-camera family comedy project written by Better With You creator Shana Goldberg-Meehan, which sparked a bidding war before landing at ABC with a production commitment but ultimately didn’t go to pilot. Garcia was then quickly cast as the female lead in CBS’ untitled Greg Malins/Greg Berlanti comedy pilot, which came close to a series order but ultimately missed the cut, making WME-repped Garcia available. She was immediately approached for Animal Practice and, after negotiations and a chemistry read with Kirk, was cast in the role.
Up-and-comer Betsy Sodaro has been upped to a regular on NBC’s new single-camera comedy series Animal Practice, which stars Justin Kirk as a House-like veterinarian, who loves animals but usually hates their owners. Sodaro plays Angela, an animal handler. She was a guest star in the pilot, her first ever, and after a strong showing has landed a promotion to her first series regular role. Sodaro is with 3 Arts. Animal Practice, which is recasting its female lead, launches this fall in the Wednesday 8 PM slot. Here is the trailer for the show, which briefly features Sodaro.
NEW COMEDIES & DRAMAS FOR 2012-13 NBC PRIMETIME SCHEDULE
Sitcoms expand to four nights this fall including Tuesday and Friday nights. New dramas from Dick Wolf and JJ Abrams. Here’s your first look:
NBC’s Save Me - Comedy
Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Original Film. Novelist John Scott Shepherd is executive producer/creator along with executive producer/director Scott Winant and executive producers Neal H. Moritz, Vivian Cannon, and Alexa Junge:
NBC’s 1600 Penn - Comedy
Produced by 20th Century Fox. From executive producer/director Jason Winer. The executive producers are Winer (who also directed the pilot), Gad and former White House speechwriter Jon Lovett:
EXCLUSIVE: Gail Lerner has come aboard NBC’s newly picked up comedy series Animal Practice as executive producer/showrunner. Created by feature writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, Animal Practice is a single-camera office comedy centered on a “House”-like veterinarian (Justin Kirk) who loves animals but usually hates their owners (especially the new woman who runs the clinic). This marks the first executive producer/showrunner gig for Lerner, who is coming off a stint as a co-executive producer on ABC’s Happy Endings this season. On the Universal TV/American Work-produced Animal Practice, she will serve as an executive producer alongside Gatewood, Alex Tanaka, Ravi Nandan, Scot Armstrong and the pilot’s directors Anthony and Joe Russo. Lerner, repped by Vision Art’s Scott Schwartz, previously worked on Will & Grace, Back To You and Worst Week.
And we have the first recasting on a newly picked up broadcast series. I’ve learned that Amy Huberman, who played the female lead in the NBC single-camera comedy pilot Animal Practice, won’t continue on the project, which was ordered to series yesterday. The office comedy stars Justin Kirk as George, a “House”-like veterinarian, who loves animals but usually hates their owners (especially the new woman who runs the clinic). Irish actress Huberman played that woman, George’s intelligent and beautiful old girlfriend, now engaged to another, who is assigned to run the animal hospital. She landed the role in her first U.S. audition ever. The part will now be recast. Co-starring on the series are Tyler Labine and Bobby Lee.