Yet another casualty at NBC, this one hardly unexpected. Midseason comedy Growing Up Fisher won’t be returning for a second season. The series, a sweet homage to his blind father by creator DJ Nash, developed a following but it couldn’t keep up with its lead-in, About a Boy. For those counting, NBC cancelled six comedy series and renewed two, Parks & Recreation and About a Boy.
NBCU Press Day: Comedy Stars Not Fans Of Multi-Cam, Question ‘Shameless’ Decision To Compete For Emmy As Comedy
It is the golden age of comedy now, Mindy Kaling told reporters at NBCU Press Day, because whereas once you used to have to wait 2 1/2 years for Larry David to get around to writing another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, “now there’s always something happening” in comedy on the TV landscape. She was joined by stars of other Universal TV comedies airing on NBC and elsewhere.
Related: Mindy Kaling Exits UTA
Jenna Elfman is a big fan of single cam comedies, like her new Growing Up Fisher, because “with the Internet … audiences are more savvy, and with a single camera you can home in on nuance more than with multi-cam and capture the smarter side of the story.”
Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Andy Samberg chimed in: “I was on SNL, which was live, but everything I did was pre-taped, so I was already headed in that direction. Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott said there a “weird thing” about doing comedy on a multi-cam. “If you don’t say a joke with a particular inflection, the laughs just don’t occur. I did very badly in that format.” But he acknowledged, “Shows like Cheers were able to make it work.”
“Cynicism be gone!” Jason Bateman told TV critics during NBC’s Q&A session for new comedy Growing Up Fisher about a kid who played a large role in helping his father cover up his blindness until dad gets a guide dog when his parents divorce. (Watch trailer below) It’s based on the actual childhood of show creator/exec producer DJ Nash — including the pilot scene in which Dad, played by J.K. Simmons, cuts down a tree in the yard with a chainsaw while asking family members where the house is relative to the tree. Even so, TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2014 had trouble with the concept, and with the tone.
“Where’s the tears and the drama?” one critic asked of the pilot. It’s a comedy. Batemen, who exec produces and is The Voiceover Guy on the show, said they made a conscious decision to do Growing Up as a family show but with a new take and less treacle, so as to appeal to today’s maybe more cynical TV viewer.
NBC will preview Growing Up Fisher on February 23 at 10:30 PM, following the Sochi Games Closing Ceremonies. (Following the 2012 debacle when a preview of new NBC comedy Animal Practice aired before the end of the Olympics closing ceremony, Greenblatt today promised no interruption this time.) After that, it will be paired in the Tuesday 9 PM block with About A Boy, following The Voice, starting February 25.
One critic, who noted NBC’s Olympics coverage probably will include “300 promotional spots” for the show, wondered if the producers worried there would be backlash from viewers who felt the show was being “shoved down their throats.”
NBC has set its post-Winter Olympics scheduling plans, setting premiere dates for new comedies About a Boy and Growing Up Fisher, dramas Believe and Crisis and unscripted series American Dream Builders. Like it did with the 2012 summer Olympics (Who can forget the interruption in the closing ceremony for Animal Practice), NBC will preview the two comedies during the games. About A Boy, based on the best-selling Nick Hornby novel, will preview on Feb. 21 at 10:30 PM, following NBC’s Olympics coverage, and Growing Up Fisher will be sneaked on Feb. 23 at 10:30 PM, following the Closing Ceremonies. Like it did with Go On and The New Normal in fall 2012, About A Boy and Growing Up Fisher will be paired in a Tuesday 9 PM block following The Voice starting Feb. 25.
High concept new drama Believe, from J.J. Abrams and Gravity’s Alfonso Cuarón, who also directed the pilot, will get a special preview Monday, March 10 at 10 PM following The Voice before launching in its regular Sunday 9 PM slot on March 16. It will be part of NBC’s all-new Sunday night that also will include new hostage drama Crisis at 10 PM, beginning on March 16 and the Nate Berkus-hosted reality competition series American Dream Builders, which will premiere on March 23 at 8 PM.