Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius is set as executive producer and showrunner of NBC‘s newly picked up comedy series Bad Judge. The gig is part of an overall deal Brixius has with Universal Television, which produces Bad Judge with studio-based Gary Sanchez Prods. Written by Chad Kultgen, Bad Judge stars Kate Walsh as wild child Rebecca Wright who knows how to have a good time, but she also happens to be one of L.A.’s toughest and most respected criminal court judges. Brixius will executive produce alongside Kultgen, Walsh, Anne Heche, Jill Sobel Messick, Kevin Messick, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Brixius, repped by WME and Jamie Mandelbaum, most recently created NBC’s comedy pilot Girlfriend In A Coma.
EXCLUSIVE: For her first project under the overall deal Nurse Jackie co-creator Lix Brixius signed with Universal Television in April, she has teamed with Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Universal TV-based Hazy Mills and Lawrence Bender and Kevin Brown’s Bender Brown Prods. for a drama project that has landed at NBC.
Brixius will write the hourlong drama, a soap about a Dr. Oz-type that has fallen from grace. Brixius, Hayes, Milliner, Bender (Inglourious Basterds) and Brown executive produce. Uni TV is the studio. Hazy Mills has three series on the air: NBC’s Grimm and the TV Land comedies Hot In Cleveland and spinoff The Soul Man. Additionally, Hayes is set to recur on the NBC/Uni TV dramedy Smash this coming season, reuniting with his Will & Grace co-star Debra Messing. Bender Brown recently signed a pod deal with Uni TV’s corporate sibling Universal Cable Prods. WME-repped Brixius signed with Uni TV shortly after leaving Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, which she co-showran for the first four seasons.
EXCLUSIVE: Nurse Jackie co-creator Liz Brixius has signed an overall deal with Universal Television. The rich two-year pact reunites Brixius with former Showtime entertainment president Bob Greenblatt, who developed and put Nurse Jackie on the air and now oversees NBC and Universal TV as NBC Entertainment chairman. Under the new deal, Brixius will develop new projects for Uni TV.
Brixius recently left Nurse Jackie, on which she served as co-showrunner for four seasons alongside fellow co-creator/executive producer Linda Wallem, who also departed. The two co-created the dark comedy starring Edie Falco with Evan Dunsky. Nurse Jackie was the first TV series for Brixius, who previously teamed with Wallem to co-create another Showtime project, Insatiable, which was picked up to pilot by Greenblatt and led to the duo’s gig on Nurse Jackie. In addition to her four-year stint on Nurse Jackie, Brixius, repped by WME and Jamie Mandelbaum, has been busy in features; she co-wrote the recent Katherine Heigl movie One For The Money.
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.
TCA: ‘Raymond’ Creator Slams TNT For Axing Ray Romano’s ‘Men’, ‘Jackie’ EP Talks About Pitching To ‘Roomful Of Fear’
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.”
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 is more intense than ever, with Modern Family and Glee. That is, if a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory could finally score a nod or How I Met Your Mother in its sixth season. Underdogs include ABC’s The Middle and Fox’s Raising Hope.
Deadline: Do We Need A Dramedy Category?
Deadline: ‘Modern Family’s Chris Lloyd
Deadline: ‘The Big C’s Jenny Bicks
Deadline: ‘Parks & Recreation’s Michael Schur
Deadline: ‘Community’s Dan Harmon
Deadline: ‘Nurse Jackie’s Brixius & Wallem
Deadline: 10 Comedies Pick Best Episodes
While some comedy series producers are still finalizing their selection of episodes to submit for Emmy nomination consideration, most have already chosen their best. Each series may submit 6 episodes for the Outstanding Comedy Series, as …
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 with the idea that a team of New York-based writers would better reflect the city and its storylines on the show. Co-creators/showrunners Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem will continue to run the writers’ room, joined by one of the 5 writers (3 writers and one writing team) that were on staff during Nurse Jackie’s second season, New York-based playwright Liz Flahive. I hear it was deemed financially prohibitive to relocate the other scribes who are staying behind, and the move is also being used to “freshen up the writing team” going into Season 3. The vacant writing positions are being filled out of New York. One of them just went to Pulitzer Prize finalist Rajiv Joseph who has joined Nurse Jackie for Season 3. Also hired as new writers on the show are playwright Ellen Fairey, Alison McDonald (Accidentally on Purpose) and Wyndham Lewis.