After Netflix resurrected Arrested Development, another cult 2000s comedy, HBO‘s The Comeback, is eyeing a comeback. I’ve learned that HBO is in discussions with the series creators/executive producers Michael Partick King, who also served as director, and Lisa Kudrow, who toplined the show, about doing a new installment almost a decade after the first season. I hear it is being envisioned as a limited/event series. Comeback, which debuted in June 2005, was a docu-style single-camera comedy starring Kudrow as washed-up sitcom actress Valerie Cherish, who gets a reality show documenting her attempt at a career comeback with a role on a new sitcom. The series, whose cast included Malin Akerman, didn’t go beyond the 13-episode first season, which earned three Emmy nominations, including a lead actress nom for Kudrow and a directing nom for King. Like Fox’s single-camera comedy Arrested Development, which aired at the same time, Comeback was considered to be ahead of its time. While it didn’t get a lot of traction during its original run, Comeback quickly achieved cult status, with fans still buzzing about it. The Comeback, which King and Kudrow executive produce with Kudrow’s producing partner at Is or Isn’t Entertainment Dan Bucatinsky, also has earned posthumous critical praise, landing on a number of lists of the best/most underrated comedy series of the last decade. Viewers are far more used to the style and pace of shows like The Comeback and Arrested Development now with a slew of series that also include another TV industry satire toplined by a former Friends star, Matt LeBlanc’s Showtime comedy Episodes.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
At today’s contentious TCA panel on 2 Broke Girls, creator/executive producer Michael Patrick King defended the comedy against continuing criticism that it traffics in ethnic stereotypes. The heated exchanges left King disappointed by the end of the session, when he said he arrived thinking the panel was going to be fun. As when the show came on the air, the questions mostly centered on Asian character Han Lee (Matthew Moy). “I’m gay. We put in gay stereotypes — I don’t get offended by any of this,” said the producer during the panel with stars Kat Denning and Beth Behrs. “I find it comic to take everybody down.” A questioner weren’t going to let him off that easily, asking if being part of a marginalized group gives one license to stereotype others. King shot back: “I would say it’s about being a comedy writer. It gives you permission to be an outsider and poke fun at what people think about other people.” King bristled at further questions about whether CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler had specifically asked King to “dimensionalize” characters beyond the stereotypes. When pressed, King acknowledged Tassler had used the word “dimensionalize” but said: “The characters are dimensional. And they are seen in segments of 21 minutes; you are limited in the amount of dimension you can see.” To his questioner, he added heatedly: “I will call you in five years” to see if the critic would find the characters fleshed out.” While denying the overuse of ethnic stereotypes, King did say he was proud that after the first three episodes of the series, the Han Lee character has only been the butt of short jokes, not Asian jokes.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Michael Patrick King Not Doing ‘Sex And The City’ Prequel
At today’s TCA panel on 2 Broke Girls — a new comedy from Sex and the City veteran Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings, who is also starring in her own sitcom for NBC this season — the creative team shunned comparisons between the Sex and the City and the new CBS comedy just because they’re both about single women. “That show and this show (have) completely different DNA,” King said, protesting that “girl” shows are often spoken about as if they are “all the same show,” and all books about women summarily dismissed as “chick lit.” “(2 Broke Girls is) the evil twin of chick lit,” King said.
And unlike Sex, where no one really knew — or wanted to know — how the women paid for their picturesque Manhattan apartments and Jimmy Choo shoes, King said money would be a hard reality beyond just the title. “Carrie Bradshaw and her closet were a fantasy,” he said, likening Carrie’s wardrobe to the closet in The Chronicles of Narnia. “Those girls had relationship check lists. These girls barely have checks.” King added that the story line of one of the waitresses, portrayed by Beth Behrs, as a rich girl whose family has lost all their money was not directly inspired by Bernie Madoff but inspired by today’s economic reality. “We liked the scary idea of talking about money,” he said.
When President Barack Obama arrived at the Sony Pictures lot in April for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser, most studio employees left early and traffic was tricky. Tonight, it’s the First Lady’s turn. Michelle Obama will attend a fundraiser …
The pilot pickup season is just starting in earnest, but we already have an unusually large number of creators with multiple pilot orders. Peter Tolan, Whitney Cummings, Michael Patrick King and the duo of Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen have each received two pickups. Tolan wrote and is executive producing Fox’s comedy The Council of Dads and NBC’s Brave New World, Cummings wrote, executive produces and stars in an untitled comedy pilot for NBC about a young couple and co-wrote/executive produces the CBS comedy pilot Two Broke Girls with King. King also has NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World, on which he is the writer-executive producer. Reich and Cohen wrote and are executive producing two ABC comedy pilots, Work It and Smothered. Besides evoking an automatic reaction of “Come on, spread the wealth” from other writers who have projects in contention, the embarrassment of riches for the in-demand creators with multiple pilots comes with inevitable complications, putting pressure on the writer-producers in the pilot phase and facing them and the networks with some difficult choices come May.