As it transitions from a single- to a multi-camera format, NBC‘s sophomore comedy Up All Night is also switching showrunners. Former Nurse Jackie co-creator/co-showrunner Linda Wallem has joined the family comedy as executive producer/showrunner. The gig is part of a two-year overall deal she has signed with Up All Night producer Universal Television. Wallem replaces Tucker Cawley, who took over showrunner duties at the beginning of Season 2 after serving as co-executive producer the first season.
NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has a long-standing relationship with Wallem. He brought in Wallem and Liz Brixius to Nurse Jackie while he was at Showtime. The two ran the dark comedy for the first four seasons until departing last spring. Both are now back in business with Greenblatt — Brixius is also under an overall deal at Universal TV. When NBC brass were deciding to re-conceive Up All Night as a multi-camera comedy earlier this fall, they met with Wallem who turned out to be a big fan of the comedy’s stars Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph and was very happy to join the show. Ironically, Cawley has a more extensive background in multi-camera family comedies, having served as an executive producer on CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond for its entire nine-season run. Under his overall deal with Uni TV, he will now work as a consulting producer on the studio’s single-camera Fox comedy The Mindy Project and will develop new projects for the studio. Wallem is repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Linda Wallem and Liz Brixius, co-creators/executive producers/co-showrunners of Nurse Jackie, are leaving the Showtime comedy series. Nurse Jackie already wrapped production on the current fourth season. With the show off to a good ratings start and stabilizing itself creatively this season, a fifth-season renewal is considered a safe bet. I hear that Showtime is already in discussions with a potential new showrunner to join and work alongside executive producer/star Edie Falco and executive producer Richie Jackson. Working on Nurse Jackie had been challenging logistically for both Wallem and Brixius, who are from Los Angeles and had to split their time between the West Coast and New York, where Nurse Jackie is filmed, for the past four years. “This has been the best job of my life, but the travel, having to spend six months (in LA) and six months (in NY) and be away from home, took a toll on me,” said Wallem, who is in a relationship with singer Melissa Etheridge. “I have four stepkids, and I would miss all of the family stuff.” Also, with the series getting a creative reboot this season as Jackie heads to rehab and with ratings up, Wallem said she felt the time was right to make her move. In its recent Season 4 premiere, Nurse Jackie drew 653,000 viewers in its original airing, up 7% from last season’s opener, and a total of 1.1 million viewers for the night, up 30% from last year. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
On a lively and colorful afternoon TCA panel promoting the fall PBS four-hour series America in Primetime, Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal blasted TNT for its recent decision to cancel Raymond star Ray Romano’s latest series, dramedy Men of a Certain Age. “Those idiots put six episodes on in November and then waited until July to schedule the next six as if they were trying to make sure the audience didn’t connect to it,” Rosenthal said. “Then they cancel it because the audience doesn’t connect to it. That’s why I say the only thing I hate about this business is the business part.”
Rosenthal’s zingers often punctuated the discussion, in which he, Nurse Jackie co-creators Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem, Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman and America in Primetime exec producer Tom Yellin delved into what makes primetime tick. The idea behind the PBS series is to promote the idea that all primetime scripted entertainment is built on the foundation of all shows that have come before it. In the series, Yellin notes that Murphy Brown creator Diane English originally received a note from CBS that the title character shouldn’t be a recovering alcoholic in her 40s but a 30-year-old woman coming out of a spa. “I got the same note on Raymond,” Rosenthal quipped, “that he be a 30-year-old woman coming out of a spa.” Read More »
Here’s is the Deadline/TVline assessment of 2011 Emmy comedy races:
Deadline/TVline: 2011 Comedy Series Overview
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits … Read More »
UPDATED: Showtime’s set-in-New York and filmed-in-New York dark comedy series Nurse Jackie will now also be written in New York. I hear that the writers’ room of the show, which recently landed 8 Emmy nominations in its first year of eligibility, is being relocated from Los Angeles to New York … Read More »