EXCLUSIVE: Jean Smart has become a late addition to NBC‘s untitled Craig Robinson comedy pilot. She replaces Jane Adams who exited after the table read last week. The single-camera comedy is executive produced by Greg Daniels and Owen Ellickson, who wrote the script. It centers on a rough-edged musician Craig (Robinson) who’s adjusting to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. Smart will play Jeannette, an erratic, stressed-out junior high principal who’s constantly in damage control mode. Multiple Emmy-winner Smart, repped by WME and Untitled, recently recurred on Hawaii Five-O and Harry’s Law.
Greek alumna Spencer Grammer has landed the female lead opposite Blair Underwood in NBC’s drama pilot Ironside. The reboot of the 1967 series, written by Mike Caleo and directed by Peter Horton, centers on Robert T. Ironside (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. Grammer, repped by UTA and Untitled, will play Holly, who stands up to Ironside and everyone else and would be much higher up in the police department if she would distance herself from the criminals she grew up around.
NBC today added three more single-camera comedy pilots to its roster, including projects produced by Greg Daniels and the duo of Will Ferrell & Adam McKay. The Office boss Daniels and his Deedle Dee Prods have had a very active development season with a half-dozen projects landing at NBC and Fox. The one that got the nod at NBC today is an untitled half-hour written by The Office‘s Robert Padnick. The other two pilot slots went to Assistance, from writer Leslye Headland and Ferrell and McKay’s Gary Sanchez Prods, and Donor Party, from writer Alex Schemmer and producer Geyer Kosinski.
This marks Gary Sanchez’s first pilot order under the company’s deal with Universal TV where Deedle Dee is also based. All three pilots hail from NBC’s sister studio, with Lionsgate TV co-producing Donor Party. This is Lionsgate’s second consecutive comedy pilot at NBC, following last year’s Next Caller, which went to series but was ultimately shelved. The trio of pilots join recently picked up About A Boy, also single-camera, and multi-camera comedy Joe, Joe & Jane. Here are details about the newly picked up pilots:
After lengthy negotiations, Fox has closed a deal with Universal TV and Greg Daniels‘ studio-based Deedle Dee for a sibling comedy written by Tom Gormican and Richie Keen. It centers on Richie, a mediocre professional tennis player who returns to his college town, the scene of his greatness, in order to reboot his life, only to be caught between a lifestyle he never got to live — embodied by his carefree, bar-owning, younger brother Tom — and Kirsten, the love of his life he will have to grow up in order to get. Gormican and Keen executive produce with Daniels, Deedle Dee’s Tracy Katsky and 3 Arts’ Howard Klein and Oly Obst.
EXCLUSIVE: The Office co-star Brian Baumgartner is staying in business with the series’ boss Greg Daniels. Daniels is executive producing a new new single-camera comedy to star the original Office cast member, which has landed at ABC. It will be written by Harris Wittels, supervising producer on Daniels’ other NBC series, Parks And Recreation. The untitled half-hour centers on Norman (Baumgartner), a mid-level airline executive who fights to experience winning again… At anything. Universal TV and Daniels’ studio-based Deedle Dee Prods are producing, with Wittels, Baumgartner, Deedle Dee’s Daniels and Tracy Katsky and 3 Arts’ Howard Klein, Dave Becky and Tom Lassally executive producing.
Baumgartner, repped by Theodore B. Gekis & Daniel Ribera, and attorney Matthew C. Thompson, plays Dunder Mifflin Paper accountant Kevin Malone on NBC’s The Office, where he has been since the pilot. For Wittels, repped by CAA, 3 Arts and attorney Jared Levine, the project stems from the overall deal he signed with Uni TV in June.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has put in development a comedy project from Parks And Recreation writer-producer Alan Yang and the series’ co-creator/executive producer Greg Daniels. The untitled comedy, from Universal TV and Daniels’ Deedle Dee Prods, centers on a strict “Tiger Dad” who, after a near-death experience, tries to reprogram his super-responsible son to be more like his fun-loving immature roommates. Yang will write the script and executive produce with Deedle Dee’s Daniels and Tracy Katsky and 3 Arts’ Howard Klein.
In his first major sale this season, The Office developer/executive producer Greg Daniels has set up a comedy at NBC starring The Office regular Craig Robinson and written by the show’s supervising producer Owen Ellickson. The untitled project centers on a talented musician (Robinson) with rough edges who adjusts to his new life as a music teacher in a big-city middle school, where he encounters teacher politics and the temptations of single moms. The comedy hails from Universal TV, Daniels’ Deedle Dee Prods and 3 Arts Entertainment. Ellickson, Daniels, Deedle Dee’s Tracy Katsky and 3 Arts’ Howard Klein and Mark Schulman executive produce, with Robinson serving as producer.
Greg Daniels, The Office (NBC)
Why He Was Nominated: Being nominated for Emmys is simply what Daniels does. He’s reeled in 19 Emmy nominations all told, including three in this category and three noms this year alone. He’s won here once before, in 2007 for the celebrated “Gay Witch Hunt” episode of The Office. And Daniels has five Emmy trophies to his credit all told, also including previous wins for King of the Hill, The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live.
Why He Has To Win: In earning a nomination for star Steve Carell’s final episode, Daniels becomes something of a prohibitive favorite to win for writing, particularly since he’s already taken one home here previously. The super-sized episode, “Goodbye, Michael,” was heavily hyped by NBC and exceptionally well-received by viewers and the industry. “Greg did a terrific job of walking the line between comedy and sentiment,” one producer told me, “which was quite a feat.”
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: Sentiment doesn’t always go over so big with the TV academy crowd, whether talking about shows or individuals. Voters could well also figure that giving an overdue Emmy to Carell for acting is plenty and need not adorn the farewell with coattails. Plus, there are a couple of other exceedingly worthy contenders here, like a particularly buzzed episode of Modern Family.
EXCLUSIVE: After successfully adapting British workplace comedy The Office for NBC, Greg Daniels is taking on another half-hour British format for the network, this time a family comedy. I hear that NBC has put in development a U.S. version of the UK series Friday Night Dinner with Daniels at the helm. It is unclear whether Daniels will write, co-write or supervise the writing of the adaptation for UMS. Created by Robert Popper, Friday Night Dinner, which debuted on Channel 4 in February, centers on the Goodmans, a traditional but not strictly observant Jewish family, and chronicles their Shabbat dinners. Every Friday night, brothers Adam and Jonny reluctantly visit their parents — mom Jackie, who is obsessed with Masterchef, and dad Martin, who loves to walk around shirtless — for a home-cooked meal. Adding to the gallery of oddball characters is a grandmother who struts her stuff in a bikini and eccentric neighbor Jim who constantly interrupts dinner. Friday Night Dinner, which has been renewed by Channel 4 for a second season, airs in the U.S. on BBC America. The show hails from Big Talk Prods, the UK production company also behind another Channel 4 comedy series that is being remade by NBC, Free Agents. NBC’s version, starring Hank Azaria and Kathryn Hahn, was picked up to series and launches this fall.
His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL.