The cast of Are You There, Vodka? Itâ€™s Me, Chelsea â€” Chelsea Handlerâ€™s new semi-autobiographical NBC sitcom â€” could probably use a stiff drink right about now. Sources confirm exclusively toÂ Michael Ausiello of Deadline’sÂ sibling site TVlineÂ that nearly half of the showâ€™s ensemble â€” including White Collar alum Natalie Morales, one-time ER nurse Angel Laketa Moore, and Chelsea Lately staple Jo Koy â€” have been let go. Read more here.
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 …
How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC’s 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC’s The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side. One of the two new Fox dramas, Alcatraz, has a female lead, Sarah Jones, and was co-written by a female writer, Liz Sarnoff. Of the two NBC drama pickups, one is the female-centered Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello and written by Alexandra Cunningham and the other the female-skewing Smash, which has two leads, one played by Debra Messing. And the two locks at ABC are all about ladies (though penned by male writers), Charlie’s Angels and Good Christian Bitches.
The four newly picked up half-hour series will probably be joined by 3-4 more for a complete domination of the freshman comedy class of 2011 the way ensemble relationship comedies were all the craze last year. What’s more, it looks like as many as three new comedy series are two-female lead shows.
EXCLUSIVE: Former That 70′s Show star Laura Prepon will channel racy comedienne Chelsea Handler in Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, a multicamera comedy for NBCÂ inspired by latenight star’s autobiographical book of the same name about her life in her 20s. Prepon has landed the lead in the pilot,Â written and executive produced by Dharma & Greg co-creator Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson and executive produced by Handler. It centers on Chelsea Hanson (Prepon), a fresh-faced single cocktail waitress highly opinionated and open about her love to drink and have sex. Vodka, which hails from Warner Bros. TV and Werner Entertainment, marks a return to the multicamera comedy genre for Prepon, who got her break playing witty and confident teenager Donna Pinciotti on the Fox sitcom That ’70s Show. After the end of the show in 2006, the actress, repped by Gersh and New Wave, co-starred on the ABC drama October Road and has done guest stints on several series, including an arc on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother.
UPDATED: It’s a big comedy pilot pickup day at NBC. The network just picked up 4 half-hour pilots, including two multicamera sitcoms based on the comedy of two edgy, good-looking female comedians, Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings, one written by Peter Tolan and one written by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith and produced by Jack Black.
Handler’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea is a multicamera comedy inspired by latenight star’s autobiographical book of the same name about her life in her 20s. The project, written and executive produced by Dharma & Greg co-creator Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson, centers on a 20-something woman who has a very honest and provocative point of view on dating, friends and family. Vodka, from Warner Bros. TV and Werner Entertainment, was developed at NBC after landing at the network in a competitive situation with a put pilot commitment in November. Handler, who won’t be starring in the comedy, is executive producing with her producing partner at Borderline Amazing Prods. Tom Brunelle, Werner Entertainment’s Werner and Mike Clements. The casting on the project promises to be interesting, looking for a 20-something Handler.Â In addition to Vodka,Â Zicklin has another comedy project in contention at Fox.
EXCLUSIVE: E! has ordered a presentation for a pop culture-driven show starring Chelsea Lately regulars Heather McDonald and Ross Mathews. The show, tentatively titled Love or Hate, hails from Chelsea Handler and Tom Brunelle’s Borderline Amazing Prods. Handler and Brunelle, who executive produce Chelsea Lately, are executive producing the new project, which is eyed for the spot following Chelsea Lately. It is one of several projects Borderline Amazing has in the works at E!, including the behind-the-scenes After Lately, which is expected to launch after Chelsea Lately in the spring, and a late-night talk show presentation hosted by Whitney Cummings, also eyed as a potential companion to Chelsea Lately. Love or Hate came about when Mathews and McDonald heard that E! was looking for a partner show and decided to showcase their mutual passion for pop culture. “It is two super-fans passionately discussing their views on the ridiculousness of pop culture,” Mathews said. Both he and McDonald have been part of E!’s awards coverage and various other specials and are also set to appear on After Lately. ROAR-repped McDonald, who is best known for her impressions and characters in the sketches on Chelsea Lately, has also been a writer on the show since its launch. She frequently tours with The Comedians of Chelsea Lately. Mathews, repped byÂ Mark Degenkolb, continues as a correspondent on The Tonight Show where …
EXCLUSIVE: After cranking out three bestsellers, E! Entertainment Chelsea Lately host Chelsea Handler has taken the next step forward. She has been given her own imprint by her publisher, the Hachette Book Group USA division Grand Central Publishing. The imprint, called Borderline Amazing/A Chelsea Handler Book, will kick off with Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me, a book that will be published May 2011. The imprint starts with a three-book deal. The second will ostensibly written under the byline of her long-suffering dog, Chunk (the pooch has a co-writer, who has been helping with a Twitter feed that apparently has a rabid following). Borderline Amazing Productions, the shingle she runs with Tom Brunelle, will oversee the publishing venture.
Handler, who has become increasingly entrepreneurial since her E! show premiered in 2007, said the imprint gives her the opportunity to hatch books from some of the talent that appears on her show. Handler is also embracing the inevitable: once up and comers get established, the public wants to see them taken down a few pegs. Why shouldn’t the latter process be handled by loved ones who can profit from it?
Said Handler: “I’ve written three books now, and while they throw money at you after awhile, I completed the Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang book tour, went out every weekend and signed all those books, and I don’t know if I can do it …
EXCLUSIVE: Latenight queen Chelsea Handler is making a move in primetime with a comedy project based on her books, which, in a competitive situation, landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. The project titled after one of Handler’s books, Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, is described as an autobiographical multi-camera comedy based on Handlerâ€™s life in her twenties. ItÂ hails from Warner Bros. and Tom Werner’s studio-based Werner Entertainment. Dharma & Greg co-creator Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson, both with UTA, will write the adaptation. They will executive produce the project with CAA-repped Handler, who won’t be starring, her producing partner at Borderline Amazing Prods. Tom Brunelle and Werner Entertainment’s Werner and Mike Clements.
EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea Lately host Chelsea Handler has landed a juicy role opposite Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine in This Means War, the McG-directed 20th Century Fox comedy. Handler will play the best friend and confidante of a woman (Witherspoon) who is lusted after by two best friends. The pals are CIA agents who wage an escalating war for her affection. Overbrook’s James Lassiter and Will Smith are producing with Robert Simonds and Simon Kinberg. This marks Handler’s second studio role, as she just completed the Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment CG-live action film Hop, which stars Russell Brand.