TV critics tend not to like CBS comedies – even the ones not created by Chuck Lorre – when they first come on the scene, and only occasionally after they become ratings hits (see The Big Bang Theory), so it wasn’t entirely surprising when they lit into Friends With Better Lives during its Q&A at Winter TV Press Tour 2014.
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“In the pilot everybody seems pretty miserable,” one critic noted of the multi-cam ensemble comedy from Dana Klein, about a group of 30-something friends who each think the other has it better, that’s getting the plum post-How I Met Your Mother Finale premiere slot in March.
“Is this going to get somewhat friendlier — everyone seems very unhappy,” the critic reiterated. Klein explained there is no “right” better life – that working women envy stay-at-home moms and vice versa, and how, in the show, one week the better life might seem to be that of the single woman who dates, but the next week it might be the couple with kids. It was the press tour equivalent of tossing breadcrumbs to piranha. Read More »
CBS has given a series order to multi-camera comedy pilot Friends With Better Lives, which I hear CBS topper Les Moonves, who developed Friends back in his Warner Bros. days, had been hailing as a potential new incarnation of the blockbuster NBC comedy. With its setup as a young ensemble, Friends With Better Lives could certainly become a successor to CBS’ departing comedy How I Met Your Mother. Written by Dana Klein and directed by James Burrows, Friends With Better Lives revolves around a group of 30-something friends who each think the other has it better. I hear the series pickup deal came after 48 hours of intense negotiations, spearheaded by executive producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment. He is exec producing Friends with Klein for 20th Century Fox TV. The ensemble cast includes James Van Der Beek, Brooklyn Decker, Rick Donald, Kevin Connolly, Zoe Lister Jones, Majandra Delfino. Friends With Better Lives was one of two CBS comedy pilots at the network still in contention. I hear the other, Bad Teacher, is still a possibility for midseason. CBS’ current tally of new comedy series stands at five — Friends and Crazy Ones, We Are Men, The Millers and Mom. That is more than double what CBS ordered on the comedy side last May and the … Read More »
Don’t Trust The B— In Apt. 23 co-star James Van Der Beek has been tapped as a lead in Dana Klein’s CBS comedy pilot Friends With Better Lives, which is directed by James Burrows. The multi-camera project, from 20th Century Fox TV and Kaplan Entertainment, revolves around six 30-something friends who each think the other has it better. Van Der Beek, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment, will play one of them, Will, a sarcastic gynecologist who expects the absolute worst from everyone after his (soon-to-be) ex-wife’s infidelity.
Apt. 23 was Van Der Beek’s first major comedy series gig that followed his viral FunnyOrDie videos. He liked the experience and liked working with Apt. 23 producer 20th TV, which led to him signing on for another half-hour project with the studio. The Dawson’s Creek alum currently stars in the Geffen Playhouse’s production of The Gift and will next be seen in the Jason Reitman feature Labor Day. Van Der Beek is the second Apt. 23 cast member to book a pilot. Star Krysten Ritter toplines the NBC comedy Assistance.