EXCLUSIVE: NBC is taking another stab at one of its comedy hopefuls, the untitled presentation created by and starring up-and-coming comedian Jerrod Carmichael. I hear the network is finalizing a deal for a new pilot, which is eyeing a quick turnaround, with NBC getting a short window after that to pick up the project to series. The presentation, based on Carmichael’s life and comedy, has been one of the surprises of this pilot season, playing very well at NBC despite its shorter length, smaller budget and lack of stars.
Related: UPFRONTS 2014: The Success Of Cristela Alonzo & Jerrod Carmichael’s Projects And What That Says About Pilot System
Additionally, Carmichael, a relatively unknown Los Angeles-based standup and performer when the presentation was ordered in December, has started to break out in a big way over the past two months — he was in the hit feature comedy Neighbors and landed an HBO standup special directed by Spike Lee. The special was recently shot. I hear it has been well received and is eyeing a fall premiere. With all that going on, it’s is no surprise Carmichael was pursued by multiple studios and showrunners after the upfronts but ultimately opted to stay with NBC and Universal TV and see his first series project through. It centers on a consummate optimist (Carmichael) who is eager to take on the world, but is too busy taking on everyone and everything in his small corner of it. Read More »
Lost among the slew of high-profile broadcast comedy pilots this season were two low-budget pilots/presentations created by and starring up-and-coming comedians of diverse background few had heard of: Cristela Alonzo and Jerrod Carmichael. Ten days before the start of the upfronts, many of those big-budget, big-name pilots have fallen by the wayside. But the Alonzo and Carmichael projects are still standing. Both have exceeded expectations, both have been very well received and both are in contention for a series pickup.
Related: PILOTS 2014: Strong Year For Drama & Latest Buzz
Alonzo’s semi-autobiographical Cristela, from 20th TV and studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, has been a true Cinderella story. It was sold to ABC last summer with penalty. But with several high-profile multi-camera sitcoms landing pilot orders at the network, including two from 20th TV – The Winklers starring Henry Winkler, and the untitled Kevin Hart project – Cristela didn’t make the cut. However, the producers, who also are behind ABC’s Last Man Standing, and 20th TV took the $500,000 penalty, a fraction of what a normal pilot costs, and used it to budget a presentation with ABC’s blessing (the network called it “proof of concept”). Cristela ended up filming a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man Standing using that sitcom’s crew, led by … Read More »
In a tight race, any bit of advantage helps. Two creators and stars of broadcast comedy pilots in contention for a series pickup, Jim Gaffigan and Jerrod Carmichael, got some good news today. Jim Gaffigan’s Comedy Central standup special on Sunday drew 1.1 million viewers and a 0.85 rating in adults 18-49, the highest marks for a standup special on the network in a year, topping 16 other specials that aired in the past 12 months. Gaffigan has a semi-autobiographical comedy pilot at CBS, a re-do of his pilot last year. The new pilot was an early standout. It doesn’t seem to be a sure thing by any stretch but today’s Comedy Central ratings are a nice reminder that Gaffigan is one of the most popular and respected veteran standup comedians working today who is yet to achieve mainstream success.
On the other hand, we have an up-and-come comedian, Jerrod Carmichael, toplining his first pilot, an presentation at NBC. The lower budget autobiographical project has been a dark horse at the network, with its chances increasing as does Carmichael’s profile. He is in the high-profile new feature comedy Neighbors, and he just landed his first HBO standup specialdirected by none other than Spike Lee, with Funny of Die producing. It will be taped at The Comedy Store in Hollywood on May 7.