Fox cleaned the comedy deck today, pulling the plug on freshman series Dads, Enlisted and Surviving Jack and passing on half-hour pilots Fatrick, Dead Boss and No Place Like Home. The two Fox comedy pilots that had been considered strongest, Sober Companion and Cabot College, remain in contention as Fox is said to be mulling a change in its comedy strategy for next season, likely abandoning the two-hour comedy block, which had been struggling mightily. On the hourlong side, there will be no second season for Rake though it has not been officially cancelled.
Related: Fox Ups Order For Multi-Camera Comedy ‘Mulaney’ To 16 Episodes, May Be Done With Comedy Pickups
The cancellation of Dads, Enlisted and Surviving Jack leaves Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the only freshman Fox comedy to make it to a second season. There had been talk as recently as several days ago about Dads possibly getting a reprieve. While not well received by critics, to put it mildly, the multi-camera series performed as well or even better than the renewed Fox comedies — Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project – and it comes from sister studio 20th TV and one of Fox’s top producers, Seth MacFarlane.
Related: 2014 Fox Pilots
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EXCLUSIVE: I have learned that Fox has opted not to pick up a second season of Almost Human. The futuristic drama starring Karl Urban and Michael Ealy got off to a sluggish start in November but held enough ground to at least earn renewal consideration, often finishing on par with its Monday companion (the already-renewed drama The Following). In fact, the March season (and series) finale of Almost Human logged a 1.5 rating in 18-49, matching the Live+Same Day rating for last night’s finale of The Following. (The Following is a bigger DVR draw). Almost Human‘s chances started to slip once Fox’s drama pilots started to come in. All three of them — Gotham, The Red Band Society and Empire – are considered strong contenders for a series pickup. That didn’t bode well for Almost Human. Also, it is produced by an outside studio, Warner Bros TV, which also has The Following and the sure-to-be-picked-up Batman prequel Gotham. Almost Human, about a cop (Urban) paired with a lifelike combat-model android (Ealy), comes from the Fringe team of JJ Abrams and J.H. Wyman. Elsewhere in Fox bubble land, the renewal chances for Seth MacFarlane-produced freshman comedy Dads appear to have gone up in the past few days.
PILOTS 2014: The Latest Buzz
Primetime Pilot Panic
2014 Fox Pilots
UPDATED: The move to Friday didn’t dent Bones‘ longevity one bit. “We are in negotiations on another season of Bones and expect it would be back (for a 10th season),” Fox chairman Kevin Reilly said during the executive session today, indicating that Season 10 will likely be the show’s last. He confirmed what we had already reported: that Bones creator/showrunner Hart Hanson will move onto his newly picked up Fox series Backstrom, with his top Bones lieutenant Stephen Nathan, who has performed day-to-day showrunner duties on the long-running Fox procedural, taking over next season. Hanson still will be involved in major decisions.
Reilly also spoke of the renewal chances of softly rated sophomore comedy The Mindy Project, which is going on hiatus in the spring. “It’s really on the money (creatively) right now,” he said. “Ratings are not where they should be, the show deserves more viewers. But is a highly upscale show we make money on.” He said Mindy‘s “little hiatus has nothing to do with its renewal chances. “I’m highly bullish on it being back next season.” Read More »
The freshman season of Fox comedy Dads will consist of 19 episodes, three fewer than full-season 22. The network gave the live-action sitcom a back order in October, but the exact number was fuzzy. It now has been set at 6. The reduced pickup is understandable given the fact that Dads will air its last original episodes February 4 and 11 before getting off to make room for Glee. The series’ long-term prospects remain undetermined but not bright.
Related: Decent Openings For ‘Dads’, ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’; ‘Mindy’ Down
Fox has finalized a Back 9 order to comedy Dads. The pickup means that Fox has become the only major broadcast network to give episodic orders (full-season ones to Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and a second-season one to Sleepy Hollow) to all of its new scripted fall series that have premiered. ABC, NBC and CBS all have cancelled a show each – Lucky 7, Welcome To The Family and We Are Men, respectively. In the pickup announcement for Dads, Fox chairman Kevin Reilly acknowledged that the show, which was met with a critical backlash, is a work in progress. “Fox has been looking to break into the multi-camera format for some time,” he said. “With Dads, we have an asset that we can grow, and we’re looking forward to seeing where the fantastic cast and the creative minds of Seth, Alec, Mike and Wellesley take us the rest of the season.” Executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild, Dads, from 20th TV and Fuzzy Door Prods, stars Giovani Ribisi and Seth Green as successful guys dealing with their annoying dads. Dads had done relatively well for Fox in the anchor Tuesday 8 PM slot considering the overall struggles of the network’s comedy block. It is averaging a 2.2/7 rating among adults 18-49 in Live+7 and drawing solid male demos.
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EXCLUSIVE: Fox is firming up its midseason comedy scheduling plans. I’ve learned that the network is going to launch Surviving Jack after American Idol on Thursday. The comedy’s order has been trimmed from 13 to 8 episodes, but unlike the recent order reduction for Fox’s other midseason live-action comedy, Us & Them, this decision was dictated by scheduling reasons — Fox will have eight weeks worth of available 8:30 PM slots on Thursday when the American Idol results show gets pared down for the first time to 30 minutes. With Us & Them unlikely to factor into Fox’s midseason plans, the decision to put Surviving Jack on Thursday indicates that the network is likely planning to keep its Tuesday comedy block intact for the remainder of the season. New Girl and The Mindy Project have 22-episode orders, and newbie Brooklyn Nine-Nine was given a full-season pickup last week. That means that the remaining comedy, freshman Dads, will probably get a Back 9 order too, and I hear that is in the works.
Related: Fox Announces Premiere Dates For ‘The Following’, ‘Rake’ & ‘American Idol’
Surviving Jack, executive produced by Bill Lawrence, is a Chris Meloni showcase and a coming-of-age comedy that I hear Fox brass hope could capitalize on American Idol’s broad audience. Fox has launched comedies behind a 90-minute American … Read More »
The first new fall series, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, premieres tonight, marking the unofficial start of the 2013-14 broadcast season. A slew of new shows and a legion of returning ones will unspool over the next couple of months. In the past, that would mean a bloody skirmish in every time slot, with one show coming out victorious and the rest in moderate or grave danger. Now with DVR and online viewing, several shows airing in the same time period can be popular. But will they all be successful? That is probably the biggest question facing the networks — how to translate eyeballs on different platforms into ratings and money from advertisers. While ad rates now are determined by C3 ratings that include playback (plus commercials) in the first three days after the premiere airing and the networks universally use Live+7 as ratings currency, Fox’s Kevin Reilly recently made a case for expanding the rating measurements to Live+30 and beyond and for including online viewing. In line with that, Fox this fall is introducing DVR and multi-platform lift projections for its shows. Meanwhile, CBS’ Leslie Moonves and David Poltrack recently proclaimed the decline of the adults 18-49 demo, which has been the key metric for advertisers. All that confusion opens the door for even more spin from the networks who can declare almost any show a hit using different viewing windows and demos. Maybe Netflix’s M.O., often criticized by its competitors, not to disclose any ratings data isn’t all that bad after all. If the company considers a series successful, it renews it, if not, it’s gone.
Related: 2013-14 Schedule Grid & Top Face-Offs
Back to the broadcast networks, which seem to be switching identities this fall. CBS’ highest-profile new drama, Hostages, is a serialized thriller vs. a classic procedural last year (Elementary). Meanwhile, NBC, which made its biggest drama push with the heavily serialized Revolution last fall, is getting behind a procedural The Blacklist, which inherited Revolution‘s Monday 10 PM slot, this year. Multi-camera leader CBS is making a push in single-camera comedy with The Crazy Ones and We Are Men, while single-camera-centric Fox is reverting to multi-camera comedies with Dads. Here are some challenges each of the networks faces: Read More »
UPDATE, 6:50 AM: Fox has declined the Media Action Network for Asian Americans’ suggestion it re-shoot its Dads pilot in order to remove the scene it finds most offensive. In the scene, business partners Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi have Brenda Song’s employee character dress up in sexy Asian Schoolgirl costume and giggle demurely to please Chinese businessmen.
Down the road, Fox execs promised the organization, “You will see that Brenda Song’s character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand.” They also said the show, from Seth MacFarlane and team, “is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries — sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations,” adding, “The series is based heavily on the executive producers’ own lives, and the relationships between the fathers and sons on Dads will continue to be the main driver of show’s comedic sensibility. Everyone involved with Dads is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and ‘earns’ its audaciousness.”
PREVIOUS, AUGUST 15: The Media Action Network for Asian Americans says it’s waiting to hear back from Fox execs in response to a letter it sent Monday asking the network to reshoot some “racist” scenes in the pilot of Fox’s new Seth MacFarlane live-action comedy series, Dads. Fox says it has been in the process of responding. Word of the kerfuffle got out this afternoon when MANAA took the issue to the press. In case you didn’t get the screener MANAA saw back in July, Dads is about two video game developers (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) with cranky old dads (Martin Mull and Peter Reigert) who move in to their place. Sometimes the dads say stupid racist things. Mull’s character, for instance, calls Asians “Orientals,” and says, of Chinese people, “There’s a reason ‘Shanghai’ is a verb.” TV critics don’t like the show much either, and said so at the recent Summer TCA Press Tour. Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly placated them somewhat by telling them the show will need to recalibrate and find the right comedic balance. MANAA wants the pilot recalibrated before it premieres. Read More »
Fox may have a multi-cam comedy hit on its hands in Dads, judging by the thwapping TV critics gave it today at Summer TV Press Tour 2013. It was the kind of brawl the tour hasn’t seen since the 2 Broke Girls Q&A back in that sitcom’s first season– and we all know what a hit that show’s turned out to be for CBS. The series, from Seth MacFarlane (much not-loved by TV critics, and a no-show at the session) and other producers behind MacFarlane’s animated Family Guy and flick Ted, stars Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi as childhood BFF’s turned gaming entrepreneur/biz partners, whose lives become sitcom material when both their dads, played by Peter Riegert and Martin Mull, move in with them. They provide lines like asking their son if he’s watching Punch The Puerto Rican when they see a boxing match on TV. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is re-conceiving one of the lead characters in Dads, its six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted‘s team of Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane. As a result, the role is being recast, with Giovanni Ribisi replacing Tommy Dewey as the co-lead opposite Seth Green. The decision was made after the taping of the show’s first episode late last week, which was expected to prompt some tweaking. Written by Sulkin and Wild, the 20th TV-produced Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli (Green) and Warner (Ribisi), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Peter Riegert, Martin Mull) unexpectedly move in with them. Ribisi’s casting likely stems from the actor’s relationship with MacFarlane, Sulkin and Wild. He co-starred in the trio’s blockbuster Ted and is also on board to star in their follow-up Western comedy feature, also co-written by the three of them and directed by and starring MacFarlane.
Dewey was the very first actor cast in Dads in early February, before the project took several turns during the casting process, including changing casting directors. Dewey has been a favorite of Fox brass — he played the co-lead in the network’s 2011 comedy pilot Tagged and did a major recurring role on Fox’s freshman comedy series The Mindy Project before getting the Dads co-lead. (Dewey also co-created the Fox/20th comedy series Sons Of Tucson.) This … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Vanessa Lachey has joined Fox’s six-episode multi-camera comedy series Dads as a regular in a recasting after the project’s table read. Dads, from Ted‘s Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane, centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli (Seth Green) and Warner (Tommy Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Peter Riegert, Martin Mull) unexpectedly move in with them. Lachey will play Camilla, Warner’s (Dewey) wife and, the mother of their two children. She replaces Erin Pineda, who was cast in the role on Monday. In addition to her extensive hosting resume, which includes stints on Entertainment Tonight and Wipeout, Lachey has done acting gigs on such series as Hawaii Five-0, 30 Rock and Psych.
In what would be his first series regular role, Kenneth Choi (Sons Of Anarchy, Glee, 24) has been cast in NBC’s drama pilot Ironside, a reboot of the 1967 series. Written by Mike Caleo and directed by Peter Horton, it centers on Robert T. Ironside (Blair Underwood), a tough, sexy and acerbic police detective relegated to a wheelchair after a shooting who is hardly limited by his disability as he pushes and prods his hand-picked team to solve the most difficult cases. Choi will play Captain Ed Rollins, Ironside’s supervisor. Despite their push/pull relationship Ed and Ironside have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for each other. Choi, repped by Mosaic, TalentWorks and attorney Derek Kroeger, was recently seen in Captain America 2 and next co-stars in Wolf Of Wall Street.
In another recent NBC drama pilot casting, another 24 alum, Tzi Ma, will appear opposite Skyler Samuels in NBC‘s drama pilot Bloodline. Written by David Graziano and directed by Peter Berg, Bloodline is described as a pulpy, highly stylized look into the cheeky world of Bird Benson (Samuels), a smart, irreverent and strong young girl who, due to an accident of birth, finds herself caught in the middle of an epic struggle between two warrior families set against the backdrop of modern suburbia. Ma plays Charles Hwang, Bird’s trainer and mentor.
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Seth Green, who has voiced Chris Griffin in all but one episode of Seth MacFarlane’s animated series Family Guy, is teaming with MacFarlane again. He’s now been set as the other lead in Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series. The project is from Ted‘s Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild and MacFarlane and centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli (Green) and Warner (Tommy Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Peter Riegert, Martin Mull) unexpectedly move in with them. Green’s Eli is a man who hasn’t grown up but who built a successful video game business with Warner. Brenda Song and Tonita Castro also co-star in the pilot. Green, also part of the braintrust behind Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, is repped by UTA and Koopman Management.
Up All Night co-star Luka Jones has been cast in NBC’s comedy pilot Holding Patterns, an ensemble multi-camera comedy about a group of friends whose lives completely change after they survive a plane crash, caused by Leah (Chyler Leigh) ruining Griffin’s (Humphrey Ker) proposal dinner. Jones, repped by WME and 3 Arts, plays Leah’s brother Luke. He previously played the male lead on NBC’s BFF and will next be seen in Spike Jonze’s Her. Holding Patterns also has open the role of Chad, which is being recast.
Tonita Castro, who recurs on another NBC comedy series, freshman Go On, has been added to Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted‘s Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane. It centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli and Warner (Tommy Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Martin Mull, Peter Riegert) unexpectedly move in with them. Castro, repped by the Corsa Agency and the Alvarado Rey Agency, plays Eli’s maid, Edna, a hard-drinking, outspoken woman whose mastery of English is quite modest but she always manages to make her caustic opinions understood.
Martin Mull, who recurs on Two And A Half Men, has been cast as a lead in Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted‘s Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane. Written by Sulkin and Wild, Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli and Warner (Tommy Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads (Mull, Peter Riegert) unexpectedly move in with them. Mull, repped by Gersh and Anonymous Content, plays Warner’s dad Crawford, a man who’s always been the bane of Warner’s existence. The casting comes shortly after producing studio 20th TV replaced casting directors on Dads, with Valko Miller taking over for Lisa Beach. Read More »
Peter Riegert (The Good Wife) has been cast as a lead opposite Tommy Dewey in Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted‘s Alec Sulkin, Wellesley Wild and Seth MacFarlane. Written by Sulkin and Wild, Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli and Warner (Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them. Riegert, repped by Buchwald/Fortitude, will play Eli’s Jewish father, described as a quiet monster of negativity. Having spent his life being impossible to please, David finds that no one can tolerate his company. 20th TV is producing.
Michael Weston (House) is set to co-star in Blink, the CW’s drama pilot executive produced by David Marshall Grant (Smash). Written by Vera Herbert, Blink is a quirky, humorous family drama narrated by the father, Greg, who is in a coma-like state following a car accident where he cannot speak or move, but can see and hear all. Weston will play Greg’s slightly disheveled younger brother who moves in with his brother’s family. Madeline Carroll plays the lead, Greg’s teenage daughter Ari.
Tommy Dewey has landed a lead role in Dads, Fox‘s six-episode multi-camera comedy series from Ted co-writers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild and co-writer/director/star Seth MacFarlane. Written by Sulkin and Wild, Dads centers on two successful guys in their 30s, Eli and Warner (Dewey), who have their lives turned upside down when their nightmare dads unexpectedly move in with them. Read More »