At its executive panel, NBC revealed more details about its Bill Cosby multi-camera comedy project, which was put in development in January. It will be created by Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley and produced by Sony TV, where Sikowitz is under an overall deal, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. Sikowitz is also tied as a showrunner to the Sony TV-produced new CBS comedy The McCarthys, so I had heard that O’Malley would be writing with Sikowitz supervising. Actor O’Malley, who is eyed for one of the show’s leads, had been active on the writing side, starting with a staff writing job on Shameless, and has written a couple of pilots. As for the premise, it is a multi-generational family show, Salke said.
“Bill plays the patriarch of the family, dispensing his classic wisdom on relationships and parenthood, with three daughters, husbands and grandchildren,” Salke said “It’s a classic big extended family sitcom.” The hope is for O’Malley to play one of the husbands, she added. The show is eyed for next summer or fall 2015.
The Bill Cosby project is part of NBC’s commitment to the multi-camera genre, Salke said. Both Salke and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke of the difficulty getting multi-camera comedies on the air that stick, having just unsuccessfully tried with… Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The South By Southwest Festival continues to grow in popularity and influence, and the Hollywood marketing machine has taken notice. With last year’s fest drawing an estimated 64,000 plugged-in registrants, entertainment companies again are salivating at the opportunity to mine the Austin crowd and active social media accounts. Enter Funny or Die. The humor brand is planning a March 8-10 assault that includes tie-ins with Universal Pictures and Facebook, live podcasts, panels, an event with its Fuse show Billy On The Street and culminating with a stand-up show by a comedy legend making his fest debut. The revelry kicks off with a Saturday night Delta Psi frat party, a wink at the boisterous Greeks featured in Neighbors, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron-Rose Byrne comedy that Uni will bow May 9. There’s Neighbors-related fraternity shenanigans the next day with a Delta Psi open house. Funny or Die’s three-day party will wind down — or whip up, depending on your point of view — with a Bill Cosby concert Monday night. That is if the whippersnappers can look up from their phones long enough to appreciate an American treasure who made their parents and grandparents double over. FOD also is partnering with Facebook, which will have teams from the social network and Instrgram at the festival to help media groups and public figures … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In 1984, The Cosby Show revived the sitcom genre and fueled NBC‘s ratings resurgence. Three decades later, Bill Cosby is looking to bring some of that magic back to NBC, which has been going though a rough time with comedies. The network has made a deal for a half-hour family comedy to star Cosby. As he did in the ’80s, Cosby has partnered with producer Tom Werner, whose company with Marcy Carsey produced Cosby Show. The new comedy will be built around Cosby, who will play the patriarch of a multi-generational family and, like the comedian’s previous family sitcoms – Cosby Show and Cosby on CBS — will channel his take on marriage and parenting. Cosby and Werner are meeting with writers on the project, which has been put on off-season development track.
Cosby and Werner had been mulling doing a family comedy for a while with the goal to reach a wide audience. “They would like to see a married couple that acts like they love each other, warts and all, children who respect the parenting, and the comedy of people who make mistakes. Warmth and forgiveness,” Cosby told Yahoo TV in November. “So I hope to get that opportunity, and I will deliver the best of Cosby.” In addition to the family comedy, CAA-repped Cosby also has been working on a reboot … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Bill Cosby has signed with CAA, a move that ends a remarkable 48-year run at WMA and WME. CAA will rep the iconic performer in all areas. Most of Cosby’s recent activity has been in performing up to 100 live shows each year, and writing bestselling books. So WME’s loss here is mostly symbolic, but it is also an opportunity to note the 48 years he spent with former WMA head Norman Brokaw, who repped the groundbreaking comedian-turned-actor since the beginning of his career.
In terms of length, the only star-rep relationships that come to mind as comparisons are Lenny Hirshan and Clint Eastwood, and Elvis Presley and Col. Tom Parker. Brokaw (who never retired, by the way) handled Cosby back when he became the first African American to star in a network TV series, joining Robert Culp in I Spy. Cosby won three Emmy Awards in a row. And WMA and Brokaw guided Cosby in the creation of The Cosby Show, a mammoth hit that came along at a time when sitcoms were thought to be dinosaurs. NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff rode the Huxtable clan and Cheers to fuel the rise of Must See TV in the 1980s. For WMA, The Cosby Show became one of the most lucrative TV packages of its time, with the agency collecting 5% of a show that became a massive hit in syndication, generating a fortune for WMA and keeping the agency rolling in cash. Nowadays, TV packages don’t make nearly that much. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Adam McKay is in negotiations to develop to direct Uptown Saturday Night, the Warner Bros remake that the studio hopes will star Will Smith and Denzel Washington. Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment has been developing the project. Tim Dowling wrote the most recent draft.
The idea is for McKay to helm after he completes a sequel to Anchorman, the Will Ferrell-starrer Paramount has set for an early 2013 start and 2014 release. McKay and Ferrell wrote that script and Judd Apatow is producing. McKay most recently helmed The Other Guys, and before that Talladega Nights. He’s repped by WME.
The 1974 comedy starred Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier as pals who visit an illegal nightclub, and are forced to hand over their wallets to thieves. Turns out one of them contains a winning lottery ticket, emboldening the duo to bump up against the criminal element to get back the wallet. There are plenty of remakes that elicit groans. If this package comes together (Smith and Washington have long wanted to work together), with McKay’s comic sensibility, this redo could be exceptional. The original cast was lined with the likes of Harry Belafonte, Flip Wilson and Richard Pryor, and the remake could follow suit by star-casting the supporting roles.