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NBC Press Day: ‘Undateable’ Pushes No Envelope Because Broadcast Can’t Compete With Cable On That Front, Bill Lawrence Says

By | Tuesday April 8, 2014 @ 4:51pm PDT

Undateable is a “classicNBCUniversal Events - Season 2014 throwback sitcom, it cracks me the frick up,” executive producer Bill Lawrence told reporters at NBC Press Day. Though the show is about a bunch of mostly young single guys, it does not push any content envelope, Lawrence said. “One of the things I’m really proud of is, it’s laugh out loud funny without being crass. This feels reminiscent of the shows I grew up loving, like Cheers.  I didn’t try to push the envelope too much…If you’re a on a network its hard to compete with shows like Louie or Veep that have no language standards, or nudity standards, or content standards,” he said. Lawrence said he set out to do a multi-camera comedy because it’s  “where the networks can compete with cable. I enjoy watching Veep, and Silicon Valley is funny as balls — check it out,” he said. “Multi-camera comedies — I grew up with NBC being the king of them,” he said.
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TCA: Justin Halpern Says Dad Better Suited For ‘Surviving Jack’ Than ‘$h*! My Dad Says’

By | Monday January 13, 2014 @ 5:36pm PST

TCA Fox’s new Surviving Jack, about a dad and his relationship with his son in the ’90s, is based on Justin Halpern’s autobiographical book, I Suck At Girls. Halperin also created CBS’ comedy $h*! My Dad Says — also about his relationship with his father — based on his book that was, in turn, based on his Twitter feed. TV critics attending a Q&A about Jack at TCA this afternoon Surviving-Jack noted the similarity between the two comedies and asked what went wrong with the CBS one. “It was really bad,” Halpern said. “You’re aware you created that show,” joked Bill Lawrence, who exec produces Jack with Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Jeff Ingold. “Yes, and I put the blame squarely on Patrick,” Halpern joked. The CBS sitcom, he said, was “very much the wrong tone.”  The dad character, he said, did not live well in a multi-cam sitcom world where it’s all about setup and punch lines. On a single cam, “the comedy comes more organically,” he said.

Related: TCA: Cast Losing Sleep Over Fox’s ‘The Following’

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TBS’ ‘Ground Floor’ Logs Lackluster 1.6 Million Viewers In Debut

By | Friday November 15, 2013 @ 12:13pm PST

TBS‘ new original comedy series Ground Floor premiered Thursday night with 1.6 million viewers, including 918,000 adults 18-49. This is an unspectacular ratings start for the workplace romantic comedy, given its auspices. Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence wrote the sitcom with former Friends and How I Met Your Mother executive producer Greg Malins, and comedy veteran Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) was tapped as exec producer/showrunner after its 10-episode pickup; Jeff Ingold is among its exec producers. The series stars Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), Briga Heelan (Cougar Town) and John C. McGinley (Scrubs).

For comparison sake, January’s premiere of Cougar Town on TBS was considered decent, if unspectacular, at 2.2 million viewers, with more than 1.3 million adults 18-49 and 613,000 adults 18-34 in Live+Same Day. That was on par or slightly lower than TBS’ recent comedy premieres for Men At Work (2.65 million total viewers, 1.63 million adults 18-49, 851,000 adults 18-34) and Sullivan & Son (2.5 million total viewers, 1.3 million 18-49s, 612,000 18-34s). Read More »

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NBC Buys Dad Comedy From Bill Lawrence & Dan Lagana

By | Thursday November 14, 2013 @ 3:26pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

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.

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Fox Nabs Hourlong Action Comedy From Bill Lawrence & Blake McCormick As Put Pilot

By | Monday September 30, 2013 @ 1:23pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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.
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Jeff Astrof/Bill Lawrence Family Comedy Lands At CBS With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Wednesday September 25, 2013 @ 9:35am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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.

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Alex Kapp Horner Exits New Fox Comedy Series ‘Surviving Jack’

By | Sunday May 12, 2013 @ 6:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Another newly picked up comedy series is recasting its female lead. Alex Kapp Horner is leaving the Bill Lawrence-produced half-hour Fox comedy Surviving Jack. Based on Justin Halpern’s book I Suck At Girls, the single-camera comedy tells the story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google. It centers on a father, Jack Dunlevy (Chris Meloni), and his teen son Frankie (Connor Buckley). Horner played Jack’s wife in the pilot. Other new comedy series that are recasting their female leads include NBC‘s The Family Guide (Parker Posey) and Sean Saves The World (Lindsay Sloane).

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John C. McGinley To Co-Star In TBS Pilot ‘Ground Floor’, Reuniting With Bill Lawrence

By | Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 8:40am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: John C. McGinley, who played the acerbic Dr. Cox on Scrubs, is set to play a boss on Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence‘s new workplace comedy, multi-camera comedy pilot Ground Floor at TBS. Written by Lawrence and Greg Malins and directed by Gail Mancuso, Ground Floor is set in the world of corporate America and centers on a 29-year-old successful alpha male who crosses paths with his company’s support staff, a tight-knit group of truly happy and care-free people. McGinley will play the boss, Mr. Mansfield. Lawrence and Malins, who originally wrote Ground Floor for CBS last year, didn’t create the character with McGinley in mind but liked him a lot for the role, and so did TBS. “I’d kill to work with John on anything,” Lawrence said. Read More »

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Workplace Comedy From Bill Lawrence & Greg Malins Nears Pilot Order At TBS

By | Thursday February 21, 2013 @ 2:00pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

I’ve learned that TBS is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to Ground Floor, a multi-camera comedy written by Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Lawrence and former Friends and How I Met Your Mother executive producer Malins. Gail Mancuso has come on board to direct the pilot, to be produced by Warner Horizon Television and Lawrence’s Warner Bros.-based Doozer. The project was originally developed for broadcast last season and landed a pilot production commitment at CBS but did not get made. Set in the modern world of corporate America, Ground Floor centers on a 29-year-old successful alpha male who crosses paths with his company’s support staff, a tight-knit group of truly happy and care-free people. He quickly realizes he’s not nearly as happy as he thought he was. Read More »

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Bill Lawrence Takes Jab At ABC Over ‘Cougar Town’: TCA

By | Friday January 4, 2013 @ 11:19am PST

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

Cougar Town co-creator and executive producer Bill Lawrence kicked off the winter TCA press tour this morning by offering up some wisecracks about ABC, the former home of his comedy that has since found a new home at TBS. Lawrence thanked TBS chief Michael Wright (who was onstage as part of the network’s panel) for keeping a show alive that Lawrence “has been trying to kill for years.” He also joked about his feelings regarding ABC’s promotion of Cougar Town by saying that now that the show has moved, “I’m actually seeing ads” for the series. Later in the session, Lawrence quipped that the series’ crew still loves ABC and Disney: “They are still the producers and owners of the show, and I think they are doing a great job.”

During the opening panel, Lawrence and new executive producer Ric Swartzlander concentrated on assuring the press that while the series has moved, it will remain the same. “Transition-wise it was easy because Michael is actually a fan of the show unless he is a really a good liar.… He said I just want you do deliver the same show…other than that there is a little nudity, that’s the only thing. We’ve shifted from Brian Van Holt not wearing his shirt all the time to Josh Hopkins not wearing his shirt all the time.” Both exec producers said TBS wanted to buy Cougar Town as-is, rather than revamp it. “A lot of shows have had weird life spans,” Lawrence said. He added, “Unless you are lucky enough to be a hit today, our goal in network TV and off-network TV is simply to stay alive.” Read More »

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‘Undateable’ Comedy From Adam Sztykiel & Bill Lawrence Lands At NBC With Penalty

By | Friday October 12, 2012 @ 11:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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. Read More »

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Comedy From Bill Lawrence, Ali Wentworth & Liz Tuccillo Goes To NBC As Put Pilot

By | Monday September 17, 2012 @ 2:38pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Ali In Wonderland, a comedy from Bill Lawrence, Ali Wentworth and Liz Tuccillo, has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. Based on Wentworth’s memoir published earlier this year, the single-camera project is described as part fish-out-of-water, part love story about an impulsive, smart-mouthed young woman who is forced to move back to Washington, D.C. — and her domineering mother — for her husband’s new high-powered job. Comedic actress-writer Wentworth and Sex And The City alumna Tuccillo will co-write the script, with Lawrence supervising. Warner Bros TV is producing with Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer banner. Lawrence, Wentworth, Tuccillo and Doozer’s Jeff Ingold will executive produce. Read More »

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Bill Lawrence-Produced ‘I Suck At Girls’ Gets Pilot Production Commitment At Fox

By | Thursday September 6, 2012 @ 6:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

In a very competitive situation with all major networks bidding, I Suck At Girls, a single-camera comedy from Bill Lawrence and Warner Bros. TV, has landed at Fox with a pilot production commitment.

It is based on Justin Halpern’s book I Suck At Girls, the follow-up to his bestseller Shit My Dad Says that was based on his popular Twitter feed. The half-hour comedy will tell the story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google. Halpern will write with his TV writing partner Patrick Schumacker, with Lawrence supervising. Lawrence, Halpern and Schumacker will executive produce with Jeff Ingold, Lawrence’s development executive at his WBTV-based Doozer production banner. Warner Bros. TV and Bill Lawrence optioned the book in February, three months before it was published by HarperColins.

Halpern and Schumacker co-created the CBS series adaptation of the Twitter feed/book, $#*! My Dad Says, which also was produced by Warner Bros. TV. This is the second consecutive year that a Bill Lawrence comedy project lands at Fox with a pilot production commitment. Last year’s Like Father went to pilot. Lawrence and Halpern are with ICM Partners.

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Mega-Producers’ Job – “Putting Out Fires”, Organization, Fear: Produced By Conference

By | Saturday June 9, 2012 @ 4:13pm PDT

“We want the very good and the bad.” That’s what American Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said this afternoon is the core of the competition show. “It’s the bland people in the middle we want to get rid of.” Variety, drama, comedy and reality TV all came together on the Produced By Conference’s Mega-Producers panel moderated by CAA TV agent Rob Nigel LythgoeKenneally. Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes, Cougar Town’s Bill Lawrence and Jersey Shore’s SallyAnn Salsano joined Lythgoe. Although their genres differ, each member of the panel seemed to have pretty much the same approach to their job. “You are putting out fires every day,” said Rhimes. “I guarantee you that everyone up here has failed more than you can imagine,” Lawrence pointed out. “I think we all have a fear of failure,” Salsano confessed. “Success or failure,” lamented Lythgoe, “you’re always fighting.”

Related: Filmmakers Delve Into The Future Of Franchises

The fear factor aside, the panel also agreed organization was crucial to running the multiple shows each runs. “It’s all about being organized,” said Rhimes. “Wherever I am, that’s where I am going to be.” Salsano echoed the organization sentiment but said reality … Read More »

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Bill Lawrence To Serve As Consultant On ‘Cougar Town’ Next Season

By | Wednesday May 16, 2012 @ 3:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

No surprise here — as we reported last year when Cougar Town co-creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence moved from ABC Studios to Warner Bros. TV with a rich new overall deal, the agreement allowed him to continue as showrunner on the ABC/ABC Studios comedy for only one more season before focusing on his WBTV duties full-time. With Cougar Town moving to TBS, which is a sister network to WBTV, and Lawrence not having a new show on the air for next season, it seemed theoretically possible for Lawrence to be loaned out to continue as showrunner. But that did not happen and he will segue into his WBTV deal as planned while staying very involved on Cougar Town as a full-time consultant. (Lawrence has extra ties to the show as his wife, Christa Miller, co-stars on it.) Search is under way for a new showrunner. Lawrence co-created Cougar Town with Kevin Biegel.

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Robbie Amell To Star In Bill Lawrence’s Pilot

By | Monday March 5, 2012 @ 7:43pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Robbie Amell (True Jackson, VP) has landed the second lead opposite Colin Ferguson in Bill Lawrence’s Fox pilot Like Father. The project, from Warner Bros. TV, is inspired by Lawrence’s real-life experience and centers on a father-son relationship. It revolves around college student Will Lyons (Amell), who is coping with the recent death of his mother. Concerned over Will’s emotional reticence, Will’s father Van Lyons (Ferguson), nicknamed “The Hurricane” for his bombastic personality, moves into his son’s campus apartment. Amell is with ICM, Coast to Coast and Protégé Entertainment. Amell follows in the footsteps of Zach Braff who also got his first lead role on a Bill Lawrence comedy series, Scrubs.

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‘Eureka’ Star Colin Ferguson Gets Lead In Bill Lawrence’s Fox Comedy Pilot

By | Thursday February 16, 2012 @ 8:15pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

After a six-year stint as the lead of Syfy’s departing drama series Eureka, Colin Ferguson is switching to comedy as the lead in Bill Lawrence’s Fox pilot Like Father. The project, from Warner Bros. TV, is inspired by Lawrence’s real-life experience and centers on a father-son relationship. Ferguson will play the father Van Lyons, nicknamed “The Hurricane” for his bombastic personality. After his wife dies, Van moves into his son Will’s campus apartment. Also cast in the pilot are Phill Lewis (repped by Abrams Artists & KLWGN) as Van’s best friend and Kevin Michael Martin (TalentWorks & Sweeney Entertainment) as Will’s roommate and best friend. Like Father reunites Lewis with Lawrence after doing an arc as Hooch on Lawrence’s medical comedy Scrubs. In addition to writing/executive producing, Lawrence is also directing the pilot. Ferguson, who also served as a producer on Eureka, is repped by manager Perry Zimel and attorney Jeff Bernstein.

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Fox Picks Up Bill Lawrence Comedy Pilot

By | Tuesday January 24, 2012 @ 4:30pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox has given the green light to Like Father, a single-camera family comedy written, directed and executive produced by Scrubs creator and Cougar Town co-creator Bill Lawrence. Inspired by Lawrence’s real-life experiences, it centers on a father-son relationship. This marks the first pilot script Lawrence has written solo since Scrubs and the first pilot pickup for his Doozer banner since the company moved from ABC Studios to Warner Bros. TV in June. Lawrence is executive producing Like Father with his development executive Jeff Ingold. Like Father reunites Lawrence with Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who was in the same position at NBC for some of Scrubs‘ run on the network. Fox bought Like Father in September with a pilot production commitment. ICM-repped Lawrence has another project with the same commitment at CBS, a multi-camera workplace comedy at CBS he co-wrote with Greg Malins. This is the fourth comedy pilot order at Fox this season following the recent pickups of Dana Fox’s Ben Fox Is My Manny and Rob McElhenney’s Living Loaded and the off-cycle order to Little Brother.

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ABC Buys Bill Lawrence/Jason Belleville Firefighter Comedy With Penalty

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 1:02pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation between ABC and NBC, the two networks that carried Bill Lawrence’s comedy Scrubs, ABC has nabbed a new half-hour project from Lawrence and Canadian writer Jason Belleville with a script commitment plus penalty. Belleville will write the multi-camera project about a small-town volunteer fire department. Belleville, Lawrence and Jeff Ingold are executive producing, with Warner Bros TV and Lawrence’s studio-based Doozer banner producing.

This marks the first U.S. gig for Belleville, who has dual American/Canadian citizenship. In Canada, he most recently co-created, executive produced and ran the single-camera comedy series Almost Heroes and previously worked on hit Little Mosque On The Prairie and Testees, which was licensed in the U.S. by FX. This past summer, UTA-repped Belleville came to Los Angeles for a series of meetings and sat down with Lawrence and his development executive Ingold. The three hit it off and proceeded to developed the idea for the workplace comedy. This is Lawrence’s third sale in the first development season under his rich new deal at WBTV. He previously landed pilot production commitments at Fox, for a father-son single-camera comedy which Lawrence will write, direct and executive produce; and at CBS, for a multi-camera workplace comedy that Lawrence is co-writing/executive producing with Greg Malins. In addition to developing, ICM-repped Lawrence also continues as executive producer/showrunner on his ABC comedy series Cougar Read More »

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