Various parties have different versions of why HBO is bringing back its one-season comedy series The Comeback, whose last season in original episodes was 2005. Co-creator Michael Patrick King said he and co-creator/star Lisa Kudrow used to talk about lead character Valerie over the years and wondered what she was up to, but they never mentioned the idea of revisiting the show. “It was too much of an emotional risk,” Kudrow told TV critics attending TCA Summer TV Press Tour. “Even to say it,” King chimed in. “Then we got a call from HBO to talk about it.”
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HBO EVP Casey Bloys explained he’d been a fan of the show but, when some member of the media attending the Press Tour suggested there had been a “groundswell” of viewer support for the idea of bringing back the comedy, he responded, “I wouldn’t say ‘groundswell.’” Instead, he explained, “HBO is in a different place than it was nine years ago, and we have the room to bring it back, and the future of the network does not depend on the show.” Where we come from, this is known as “damning with faint praise.”
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HBO‘s The Comeback is set for a comeback. HBO has completed deals for a second installment of the cult 2005 comedy starring Lisa Kudrow, which will run as a six-episode limited series this fall. Production is set to begin in LA this month.
Related: HBO Eyes Return Of Michael Patrick King/Lisa Kudrow Comedy ‘The Comeback’
Creators Michael Patrick King and Kudrow return as executive producers along with Kudrow’s long-time producing partner, Dan Bucatinsky (Scandal). King and Kudrow will write the new season with Amy B. Harris and John Riggi. Set to re-join Kudrow are The Comeback co-stars Lance Barber, Bucatinsky, Robert Michael Morris, Laura Silverman and Damian Young. Noticeably missing from the list is Malin Akerman, who also was on the 2005 series. Read More »
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. Read More »
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.
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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. Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Don’t look for a movie prequel to the Sex and the City saga — at least not by Michael Patrick King. During today’s TCA panel on King’s new CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, the executive producer took a detour to answer a question about rumors of a Sex and the City prequel movie, which would follow Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte through their teens into their 20s and would be based on author Candace Bushnell’s novels The Carrie Diaries and Summer and the City. King was executive producer/showrunner of HBO’s Sex and the City series and wrote and directed the two Sex and the City movies. “I’m not working on any Sex and the City prequel at all,” he said. “I haven’t read Candace’s Bushnell’s books. … My Carrie Bradshaw started at 33 and I took her to 43 — I don’t even want to know who Carrie Bradshaw’s parents are … the idea of going backward, making her less evolved, is something that I can’t even imagine doing. I have no connection to the prequel.”
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 and discuss the 2012 re-election effort at the home of Michael S. Smith and James Costos. It starts at 6 PM tonight. Among those in attendance will be Linda Lichter, Peggy Lipton, Michael Patrick King, Donna Roth, Suzanne Todd, Jeff Robinov, Bryan Lourd, Roger Birnbaum, Peter and Megan Chernin, Brian Grazer, Kevin Huvane, David and Lona O’Connor, and Ellen and Portia DeGeneres.
In her first series gig, Ellen Barkin is set to co-star opposite Don Johnson in Michael Patrick King’s drama pilot A Mann’s World. The Warner Bros. TV-produced project stars Don Johnson as Allan Mann, a fiftysomething handsome and sexy straight Beverly Hills hairdresser struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. Barkin will play Allan’s forgiving, funny ex-wife and the mother of their three children. She and Allen built his beauty empire together before she removed herself from the day-to-day operation and now serves as his financial and, occasionally, emotional adviser. On TV, Barkin has done several movies, winning an Emmy for one of them, 1997′s When Women Had Wings.
Cold Case alum Danny Pino has become the first actor cast in Stephen Gaghan’s pilot for NBC S.I.L.A., a complex drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. The project, from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment, centers on detective Terry Mullins, who works in L.A. Mayor’s Special Investigations Unit. He is partnered with Douglas Romero (Pino), a 3rd generation Angelino and a great surfer. Pino, repped by ICM and manager Geordie Frey, was approached for several pilots this season.
Little known Beth Behrs beat out several established young actresses to land the lead opposite Kat Dennings in CBS’ multicamera comedy pilot Two Broke Girls, co-written and executive produced by former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King and comedian Whitney Cummings. The project, from Warner Bros., centers on two girls from very different backgrounds – Max (Dennings), poor from birth, and Caroline (Behrs), born wealthy but down on her luck – who wind up as waitresses in the same Brooklyn diner, and strike up an unlikely friendship that could lead to a successful business venture… if they can come up with $250,000 in start-up expenses. Behrs is with Stone Manners Salners and Binder & Assoc.
Former Miami Vice star Don Johnson is returning to NBC. After lengthy negotiations, Johnson just closed a deal to star in the network’s drama pilot from Michael Patrick King A Mann’s World. In the vein of Shampoo, the project, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on Allan Mann (Johnson), a 50something handsome and sexy straight Beverly Hills hairdresser who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. Not ready to give up his passion for what he does, he rolls the dice and risks it all to expand his beauty empire by purchasing the building next door to his salon to transform into a day spa. Johnson was the an early choice for the role and the first to get an offer for it.
Nash Bridges alum Johnson’s most recent regular TV gig was on the WB series Just Legal. Last year, the actor, repped by Gersh and Untitled, co-starred in the ABC pilot Southern Discomfort, did an arc on HBO’s Eastbound & Down and appeared in the movies Machete and When In Rome.
Kat Dennings has signed on as one of the two leads in CBS’ multicamera comedy pilot Two Broke Girls, co-written and executive produced by former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King and comedian Whitney Cummings. Dennings is the first actor cast in the project, which centers on two girls from very different backgrounds – Max (Dennings), poor from birth, and Caroline, born wealthy but down on her luck – who wind up as waitresses in the same Brooklyn diner, and strike up an unlikely friendship that could lead to a successful business venture… if they can come up with $250,000 in start-up expenses. After starting off in TV with a breakout lead role opposite Bob Saget on the WB sitcom Raising Dad and an arc on NBC’s ER, Dennings, repped by CAA and Management 360, segued into features, including The House Bunny and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. She will next be seen in Thor.
Taylor Kinney, best known for his role as werewolf Mason Lockwood on Vampire Diaries, has become the first actor cast in Michael Patrick King’s drama pilot for NBC A Mann’s World. In the vein of Shampoo, the project centers on a straight Beverly Hills hairdresser in his 50s who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. Kinney, repped by Gersh and Principal Entertainment, will play the current “it” stylist at the spa, a smokin’ hot guy who is constantly pursued by beautiful women and whose goal is to have his own salon one day.
Chris Butler and Ryan Doom have been added to TBS’ pilot Hound Dogs. The project centers on minor league team the Nashville Hound Dogs and its recovering gambling addict general manager (Tom Verica) as they try to handle life’s ups and downs. Butler will play a longtime player who’s going through a slump and his marriage is falling apart. Doom will play a sex addicted, cocky pitcher who gets his shot at the majors. Butler, repped by SDB Partners and Pine River, recurs on The Good Wife. Doom, repped by SDB and Untitled, recurs on Raising Hope.
In other pilot castings, Anne Meara and Barry Watson have joined TV Land’s untitled Terry Minksi pilot … Read More »
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. Read More »
Wonder Woman will fly this pilot season after all. New NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt capped a day of high-profile pilot pickups with a surprise order to David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman reboot. Additionally, he formally greenlighted another hourlong project from an A-list showrunner, Michael Patrick King’s Mann’s World. Both shows hail from Warner Bros. TV. Meanwhile, the commitment to the J.J. Abrams/WBTV-produced drama Odd Jobs starring Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn, whose script came in very late, is being rolled to next season when it will be applied to the same or new Bad Robot project. And Greenblatt has passed on the Josh Schwartz/WBTV supernatural drama Ghost Angeles starring Rachel Bilson.
WBTV took Kelley’s Wonder Woman spec out to the networks in the first week of January. At the time, NBC was the most interested but, with Greenblatt still on the sidelines, the network couldn’t commit to the type of license fee that the studio was seeking in order to do the show Kelley had envisioned, and WBTV decided to shelve the project. With Greenblatt now firmly taking the reins and Kelley just delivering one of the most promising new series for NBC this season, Harry’s Law, NBC stepped up to greenlight Wonder Woman. The project is described as a reinvention of the iconic D.C. comic in which Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In what may be the last bidding war this development season, I hear CBS has landed Two Broke Girls, a multi-camera comedy co-written by former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King and comedian Whitney Cummings. The project, which the two wrote on spec at Warner Bros. TV where King is under a rich overall deal, was taken out this week and, after heated bidding, landed at CBS with a pilot production commitment. Like Sex and the City, Two Broke Girls is set in New York and features female protagonists. But the similarities end there. As the title suggests, the CBS/Warner Bros. TV project centers on two 22-year-old girls who tackle life in New York: two broke girls, one expensive city. (It is safe to assume that the two won’t be wearing Manolo Blahniks.) King is executive producing the pilot, while Cummings is co-executive producing. This is the second spec sale for King, who is returning to TV this development season after taking a break to write and direct the two Sex and the City movies. A drama he wrote about a 50-something Beverly Hills hairdresser landed at NBC with a pilot commitment last month. 28-year-old Cummings also has a second project set up at NBC. She is writing and is attached to star in a comedy about a woman who’s afraid of marriage. Cummings, a … Read More »
It may have been ahead of its time and may have faced a premature death on HBO but now the pay cable network’s short-lived comedy series The Comeback starring Lisa Kudrow is getting a second lease of life on Sundance Channel, which has acquired basic cable rights to the show. Created by Kudrow and Sex and the City creator Michael Patrick King, The Comeback will make its Sundance Channel premiere on November 23 and will run all 13 produced episodes. Shot in the style of a reality show, The Comeback follows sitcom actress Valerie (Kudrow) through her home life and her career resurgence.
EXCLUSIVE: Michael Patrick King is returning to series television with a new hourlong project at NBC. In hear the broadcast network is finalizing a deal to nab the spec by the former Sex and the City showrunner quickly after it was quietly taken out in the marketplace this week. The show, which is receiving a pilot commitment, is said to be in the vein of the 1975 feature Shampoo that starred Warren Beatty. It centers on a straight Beverly Hills hairdresser in his 50s who is struggling to stay young and relevant in a place where looks are everything. The show explores men’s struggle with aging just like Sex and the City did with women’s fears of getting old. The project hails from Warner Bros. TV where King is under an overall deal. It brings him back to NBC, the last broadcast network he has worked for. King served as a consulting producer on NBC’s comedy Will & Grace before switching to cable with Sex and the City and his underrated HBO comedy The Comeback starring Lisa Kudrow.
Going to the networks with specs vs. pitches has become a preferred way of selling for TV’s big guns. J.J. Abrams has done it for the past 3 years with Fringe, Undercovers and this year’s Alcatraz. David E. Kelley also has been going out with specs, most recently with the script for his upcoming NBC series Harry’s Law. CAA-repped King spent the past 5 years … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In one of the more exceptional cast-attached movie packages to come along in awhile, Universal Pictures has acquired an untitled comedy that will be written and directed by Michael Patrick King and star Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock and Oprah Winfrey. It’s an ensemble comedy set in the world of a Home Shopping-type network, where characters make their way through the maze of mania that surrounds marketing, marriages and the media. The film will be produced by Scott Stuber through his Stuber Pictures banner. King, who wrote and directed two Sex and the City films after he exec produced the HBO series, told me that as he was looking to create his next vehicle, met with Stuber and they sparked to the idea for a comedy with well-drawn relationships that could draw a top-notch female cast. King decided to aim high. “I came up with the idea of writing for Meryl, Sandy and Oprah, and it became so specific to them that I wanted to be sure I had interest from these ladies,” King told me. “I put it in front of each of them and they all said yes. To have access to these women, tell them this story and hear yes was almost like a Greek mythological journey, … Read More »