After the steady stream of new series pickups and renewals over the past five days, NBC cleaned house, canceling the bubble series that had not been renewed yet and passing on the pilots that had not been picked up to series yet. The series getting axed officially include comedies Are You There, Chelsea, BFF and Bent as well as drama Awake, which showed some spunk with a ratings increase last night. It proved to be a case of too little too late.
EXCLUSIVE: Bent star David Walton has been tapped as the male lead opposite JoAnna Garcia in CBS’ untitled Greg Malins/Greg Berlanti multi-camera comedy pilot. He replaces Bryan Greenberg, who was originally cast in the role but exited after yesterday’s table read. Walton is formally billed as a guest star on the CBS pilot as the project is in second position to NBC’s softly-rated Bent, which completed its short midseason run last night and doesn’t appear likely to come back. Gersh-repped Walton has been in demand for the past few pilot seasons. Last year, he booked the male lead opposite Amanda Peet in Bent in second position to another midseason NBC comedy series, Perfect Couples. The Malins/Berlanti project, also known as Oh F**k It’s You, centers on Nick (Walton), a notorious womanizer who, after surviving a health scare, realizes that “The One” he has never found is actually his best friend of 15 years, Wendy (Garcia). The problem is that Wendy is engaged to a guy Nick likes; she and Nick own a business together; and their attempt at dating back in college was a disaster.
NBC Brings Back ‘Community’, Schedules ‘Bent’, ‘BFF’ And ‘Off Their Rockers’, Shuffles Wednesday & Thursday
NBC will make more changes to its Wednesday and Thursday lineups in the spring, when it will bring back cult favorite Community and introduce the remaining three unscheduled midseason series — comedies Bent and Best Friends Forever and the unscripted Betty White’s Off Their Rockers, which received solid sampling after the network’s Betty White birthday special last month. The addition of the three new series will result in a lot of time-slot sharing and no repeats, with NBC touting its spring schedule as featuring the highest percentage of original programs in the network’s history with only with only 13 total hours of repeat programming from Sunday to Friday through mid-May.
Community will return to its Thursday 8 PM slot March 15, ending the experiment with 30 Rock in the half-hour. 30 Rock will slide to the more-suitable 8:30-9 PM slot, bumping Parks And Recreation, which will take a break, returning to wrap its season April 19 in the post-Office 9:30 PM slot after Up All Night finishes its 24-episode original first-season run.
NBC ordered six new comedy series this upfront, more than any other network. But the orders for two of its three midseason half-hours, romantic comedy Bent and BFFs (form. Parham/St. Clair), are for six episodes each. Pickups for all new broadcast series — fall or midseason — are usually for 13 episodes, though some midseason orders are later reduced. While it is usually hard for a show to establish itself with a six-episode order, the two shows can look for inspiration to fellow NBC comedy The Office, which too started off with a six-episode midseason order.
2ND UPDATE: NBC Picks Up Comedies Parham/St. Clair, ‘Bent’, Chelsea Handler, ‘Free Agents’, Passes On More Pilots
UPDATE: I hear NBC just picked up two more comedy pilots: romantic comedy Bent, starring Amanda Peet and David Walton, which I hear will probably be for midseason, and the untitled Parham/St. Clair project, now called BFFs. That makes a total of six new comedy series and five dramas for the peacock network. BFFs, written by and starring Upright Citizens Brigade alums Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, has been a classic dark horse. It was very low-budget presentation (“made for nothing,” as one agent put it), the network brass didn’t quite like the first cut but was they were intrigued enough to order a second cut and that did very well.
PREVIOUS: NBC just picked up two more comedy pilots to series: the Chelsea Handler project Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and the British romantic comedy adaptation Free Agents starring Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn. Meanwhile, more pilots got word that they are not going forward: dramas Reconstruction and 17th Precinct and comedies Lovelives, Brave New World, My Life as an Experiment and untitled Kari Lizer, which was well received but dubbed “not an NBC show.” They join Wonder Woman, Metro and A Mann’s World, which may be shopped to cable. The pass on My Life as an Experiment means that its co-star Paget …