How often does a TCA panel on a TV show includes a question to the star: “When did you first know that you were adorable?” That happened today during the session for Fox’s new comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel as a dorky girl moving in with three guys. The indie darling was, well, adorable, in her responses, including blushing in dismissing the adorable label. “I don’t think I’ve ever read a role as good for myself,” she said of her part on the show. The producers talked about the casting change, with Lamorne Morris replacing co-star Damon Wayans Jr, who had to pull out after the pilot due to his commitment to ABC’s Happy Endings. Instead of making this a straight recasting, the producers decided to keep the pilot as is with Wayans Jr as one of Jess’ roommates and then have his character move out and introduce Morris in Episode 2 as a new roommate. “We were really happy with the pilot, the chemistry was where we wanted it,” executive producer Brett Baer said. “So we wanted to bring in a new character that would really bring a new energy to the show.” Added Jake Kasdan, director of the pilot and executive producer of the series, “We thought the overall dynamic was very rich and were looking to preserve that but tailoring to a different actor.”
3RD UPDATE: Fox Orders ‘Finder’, ‘Alcatraz’, ‘Daughter’ & ‘New Girl’ To Series, ‘Council’, ‘Locke’, ‘Bellevue’, ‘Outnumbered’ & ‘Iceland’ Dead; ‘Exit’, ‘Album’ & ‘Common’ Still In Play
UPDATE 9 PM: A Locke & Key limited series/miniseries was a stretch, and it seems that it is not happening. The show is now heading to the death pile. And yes, comedy Outnumbered is dead too. Surprisingly, multi-family comedy Little In Common starring Rob Corddry and Kevin Hart, which had stayed largely under the radar, is still very much in the mix.
UPDATE 8 PM: With two high-profile drama pilots, the Ethan Hawke starrer Exit Strategy and Locke & Key, conspicuously missing from the list of series pickups or rejects, speculation started swirling as to their fate. I hear both are still in play. Word is Exit Strategy may be held for retooling. I hear Fox brass felt the pilot had a lot of action and not too much character in it, so they had been looking to shift the focus on the show. As for Locke & Key, there is a rumor that Fox wants to make it into a big-event limited series/miniseries, but it is unclear if that would be financially feasible. Comedy Family Album is still TBD but is not getting an order at this time and may get pushed.
UPDATE 7:30 PM: Fox has picked up a second new comedy series, I Hate My Teenage Daughter, on the same night its star, Jaime Pressly, appears on Fox’s Raising Hope. Meanwhile, three other pilots, medical drama Weekends at Bellevue and comedies Council of Dads and Iceland, are dead.
Indie darling Zoey Deschanel has closed a deal to star in Fox’s untitled single-camera comedy pilot from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Deschanel had been in negotiations for the pilot while also considering a gig on NBC’s The Office, but ultimately went with the pilot, closing her deal last night. The Liz Meriwether project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. It centers on Jessica (Deschanel), an optimistic but unlucky in love elementary school teacher who, after her most recent break-up, moves out of her apartment with her ex and moves in with 3 juvenile guys. The project brings Deschanel under the same roof as her sister, Emily, who stars on the Fox/20th TV series Bones.
Fox has picked up another single-camera comedy pilot, this one from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. The untitled project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. Meriwether is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope. This is Chernin Entertainment’s third pilot order this season, following pickups for off-cycle comedy Outnumbered and the recent deal for Tim Kring’s drama spec Touch. All 3 projects are at Fox.