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).
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“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 …
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 …