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.
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.
TV CASTINGS: Colin Egglesfield To Co-Star On Lifetime Drama Series ‘The Client List’, Elizabeth Ho Joins TBS Comedy Pilot ‘BFF’
EXCLUSIVE: Colin Egglesfield (The CW’s Melrose Place) has landed a series regular role on Lifetime’s upcoming drama series The Client List. Based on the network’s 2010 original movie, the Sony TV-produced series stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a Texas housewife who, after being deserted by her husband, takes a job at a seemingly traditional day spa in a neighboring town but realizes that the parlor offers way more than massages and ends up partnering with the parlor’s feisty and disorganized owner to run the business. All My Children alum Egglesfield will play a new character, Hewitt’s brother-in-law.
Elizabeth Ho (Melissa & Joey) has joined the cast of TBS’ half-hour comedy pilot BFF, from Conan O’Brien’s production company and Warner Horizon. It centers on Mark (Jay Malone), a family man who quits his day job and returns to the neighborhood where he grew up. There, he reunites with his quirky childhood best friend Roland (David Neher), who still lives with his parents (Barry Bostwick, Julie Hagerty). Ho, repped by Stone Manners Salners and Vincent Cirrincione & Assoc., will play Mark’s enthusiastic and positive wife Annie who welcomes Roland into their family.
Barry Bostwick and Julie Hagerty have joined the cast of TBS’ half-hour comedy pilot BFF, from Conan O’Brien’s production company and Warner Horizon. It centers on Mark (Jay Malone), a family man who quits his day job and returns to the neighborhood where he grew up. There, he reunites with his quirky childhood best friend Roland (David Neher), who still lives with his parents (Bostwick, Hagerty), who have lived in the same suburban house for 40 years. The project, from O’Brien’s Conaco Prods and Warner Horizon, was written by Ben Wexler, who serves as showrunner, Ross Novie and Jay Rondot.
Andrea Martin rounds out the cast of USA/UCP’s untitled Douglas McGrath comedy pilot. The single-camera comedy, which McGrath wrote and will direct, centers on Jasper (Nathan Lane), an unlucky actor whose Broadway aspirations must be put on hold when his father’s (Ken Jenkins) health takes a turn for the worse, forcing him to return to his Texas hometown. Martin will play the guest/potential recurring role of Jasper’s agent Peggy.
EXCLUSIVE: Upright Citizens Brigade performer Luka Jones has landed the male lead opposite UCB alumni Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair in the midseason NBC comedy series BFF. The single-camera comedy, created by Parham and St. Clair, centers on Jessica (St. Clair) and Lennon (Parham), best friends forever, who live on opposite sides of the country. But when Jessica is served divorce papers, she reluctantly moves back to New York and back into Lennon’s apartment. It doesn’t take long for the girls to fall back into old habits: Steel Magnolias marathons, epic girl-talk sessions … none of which is good news to Lennon’s live-in boyfriend, Joe (Jones). He’s trying to be understanding, but begins to feel like a stranger in his own home. Jones, managed by 3 Arts, succeeds Adam Pally, who played the role in the pilot presentation. Pally, a friend of Parham and St. Clair, did the presentation as a guest star as he is a regular on Happy Endings, which ABC renewed for a second season. This marks the first major acting gig for Jones, who has been doing standup, performing with UCBLA and pursuing PhD in philosophy.
EXCLUSIVE: Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan are still considered TV novices. But after 2 development seasons, their company American Work recently landed its first series order at NBC for Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair’s comedy tentatively titled BFF. Now, the duo has signed a new 2-year first-look deal with the studio behind the series, Universal Media Studios. Armstrong and Nandan first ventured into TV with a comedy pitch that became the 2009 NBC/UMS pilot Off Duty. It led to a 2-year first-look deal for the company at UMS where American Work sold 4 comedy projects in the first year and 10 in the second, including BFF, which was picked up to pilot and series by new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt. One of those 10 projects, Ambulance Chasers, a workplace comedy about personal injury attorneys from Off Duty writer Jason Mantzoukas, continues to be in development at FX. “We had a great experience,” Nandan said. “Bob has a great sense of humor, he seems to really understand the type of comedy we want to do and believes in it.” Armstrong and Nandan will develop new projects for NBC with Kristen Zolner whom they brought in last year as their development executive. “We want to bring NBC back to its former glory with shows like Emeril,” deadpanned Armstrong, a feature comedy writer who has worked on such movies as Old …
Exactly 20 years ago, German rock band Scorpions released Wind of Change, which became an anthem for our generation of young Eastern Europeans going through a dramatic political change: the fall of communism. Coming back from the broadcast upfront presentations in New York last week, I’ve been having a hard time getting the catchy tune out of my head. While less far-reaching and profound, there is a clear sense of changing of the guard and a new direction for the broadcast networks this year. I can’t remember a time where the majority of the networks had new heads at their upfront presentations. Paul Lee took over for Steve McPherson at ABC, Bob Greenblatt for Jeff Gaspin and Angela Bromstad at NBC, and Mark Pedowitz is succeeding Dawn Ostroff at the CW. There is a similar changing of the guard among the top TV producers this year. Upstart Chernin Entertainment and DreamWorks TV, which is re-entering the broadcast arena, topped the pods with the most new series, three each, with another recently launched company, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, scoring two new shows. And in its first season, Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.got one pilot, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, picked up to pilot, with another, Fox’s Family Album, in serious contention. Meanwhile, such longtime upfront fixtures as Jerry Bruckheimer TV, Mark Gordon Co. and Wonderland didn’t land any new series for next season.