Just 10 days ago NBC passed on its Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane, which had been in the works at NBC for two years under two regimes. But the network is not closing the door to bringing the family of monsters from the classic sitcom back. “I won’t say we won’t do another version of The Muensters again,” NBC chief Bob Greenblatt said after the network’s executive session at TCA. He addressed the reasons for the decision not to proceed with Bryan Fuller’s Mockingbird Lane despite the pilot, which carried a reported $10-million price tag, doing decent ratings business when it aired as a Halloween special in October.
“We just decided that it didn’t hold together well enough to yield a series,” Greenblatt said. “It looked beautiful and original and creative, but it just all ultimately didn’t come together…, it just didn’t ultimately creatively all work.” The pilot featured a cast led by Jerry O’Connell as family patriarch Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, and Charity Wakefield as cousin Marilyn. “We felt great about that cast,” Greenblatt said. “But we tried to make it not just a sitcom. We tried to make it an hour, which ultimately has more dramatic weight than a half-hour. It’s hard to calibrate how much weirdness vs. supernatural vs. family story. I just think we didn’t get the mix right.”
It’s officially over for NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. The project’s creator/executive producer Bryan Fuller made the announcement earlier today on Twitter. “I tweet with a heavy heart,” he wrote. “NBC not moving forward with #MockingbirdLane. From producers and cast, thank you all for enthusiasm and support.”
This marks the end of Mockingbird Lane‘s two-year journey. The project was originally developed by NBC’s previous regime during the 2010-11 cycle. Fuller’s script was one of very few Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January 2011. It was redeveloped and, in November 2011, it was ordered to pilot, which was subsequently rolled to June because of difficulties with casting. The pilot landed Bryan Singer as director and eventually assembled a cast led by Jerry O’Connell as family patriarch Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. The pilot was lauded for its visual style but NBC brass felt the high-concept premise — a show about a family of “monsters” — didn’t quite work. The network unofficially passed on the pilot at the end of September but opted to air it as a Halloween special, in part to offset its high cost, said to be pushing $10 million. The special did a so-so 5.4 million total viewers and a 1.5 rating among adults 18-49 in the Friday 8 PM slot, giving Fuller and the project’s fans a glimmer … Read More »
There wasn’t a Friday miracle last night with the premiere of NBC‘s pilot/special Mockingbird Lane, but it didn’t tank either. The hourlong program drew a 1.5/5 in adults 18-49 and 5.4 million viewers at 8 PM. In 18-49, that was only marginally better than the last scripted series premiere in the slot, the now-defunct CBS drama A Gifted Man (1.4 last fall). Mockingbird Lane did manage to finish No.3 for the night in the demo behind NBC’s Grimm and ABC’s Shark Tank, posting NBC’s best 18-49 rating in the hour with non-sports programming in two years. But probably its biggest accomplishment was the boost it gave Grimm (1.9/6), which shot up 27% from last week when it followed a Grimm rerun to log its second highest Friday result ever, only behind its series premiere last fall, to rank as the top program of the night in the demo. It shows that with a suitable lead-in that is not a hodge-podge of repeats, Grimm could be a pretty formidable player on Friday.
As for Mockingbird Lane, there are some extra scripts written, so there conceivably could be more episodes, which would amortize the big price tag on the pilot, said to be approaching $10 million. The ratings performance for the pilot does not automatically warrant that, and NBC brass are said to be lukewarm at best on the show’s creative direction, but the special did not crash and burn, and a big DVR boost could help its chances. With NBC’s ratings gains extending to 10 PM where Dateline (1.5/5) was up 15% from last week to top the hour, the network won the night in 18-49, its first outright demo win on Friday with non-sports programming since Dec. 16 last year. Read More »
NBC‘s Mockingbird Lane pilot is coming to primetime earlier and in a different form than originally planned. The hourlong pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and directed by Bryan Singer, will air as a Halloween special on Friday, October 26, at 8 PM, leading into a Halloween-themed episode of supernatural drama Grimm. NBC’s Friday 8 PM slot became vacant when the network this week decided to hold back comedies Community and Whitney. “This exciting new take on a memorable series will definitely blow out conventional wisdom and create its own legacy,” said NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke. “Teaming this new show with a terrifying episode of Grimm makes the perfect pre-Halloween fright-fest.”
EXCLUSIVE: It looks like NBC‘s Mockingbird Lane pilot won’t be going to series. There is no final decision, but I hear that the network brass are leaning toward passing on the project, a reboot of the classic 1960s sitcom The Munsters. The project from Bryan Fuller had been in the works at NBC for a couple of seasons, originally developed by the previous regime during the 2010-11 development cycle. Fuller’s script was one of very few Bob Greenblatt kept in play when he took over the network in January 2011. It was redeveloped and, in November 2011, it was ordered to pilot around the same time another Fuller-written drama, Hannibal, landed a script-to-series deal at NBC. Read More »
Portia de Rossi, known for her platinum blonde locks, is taking on one of TV’s best known brunettes — Lily Munster. The Arrested Development and Better Off Ted alumna is set to play the female lead in NBC’s Munsters rebootMockingbird Lane.
Mariana Klaveno had previously been cast as Lily Munster but the deal was contingent on her being released from ABC’s pilot Devious Maids, where she was a regular. However, Devious Maids producer ABC Studios did not release Klaveno or agree to make her a recurring on the project, which is in consideration for a series pickup at Lifetime, sending NBC back to the drawing board. Read More »
Mariana Klaveno has been cast as Lily Munster in NBC’s Munsters rebootMockingbird Lane. However, Klaveno’s deal is contingent on her being released from a pilot she had a regular role on: ABC’s Devious Maids. Klaveno is not one of the leads on Devious Maids and has just a few lines in the pilot. But, in light of the project’s possible move to Lifetime, in an act of gamesmanship or a mix of both, Devious Maids producer ABC Studios has so far refused to release the actress. I hear that, in a major departure from precedent, NBC is even willing to let Klaveno recur on Devious Maids in exchange for securing her in first position to Mockingbird Lane, where she would play the female lead.
ABC Studios has been looking to cut costs for Devious Maids‘ potential move to cable (I hear the main actresses have been asked to take a pay cut), but the studio has not agreed to convert Klaveno’s role to a recurring so she can join Mockingbird Lane. After one extension, I hear there is now a ticking clock that expires at the end of business today to get Klaveno released from Devious Maids so she can play Lilly Munster. At this point, with ABC Studios digging in (it has Klaveno in first position until at least June 30, when they can extend her option), it is probably going to take a miracle — or a call from NBC topper Bob Greenblatt to Devious Maids creator Marc Cherry — to get her released. If that doesn’t happen, NBC will likely go back to the drawing board and start casting the Lily Munster role again. Read More »
Jerry O’Connell is set to star opposite Eddie Izzard and Charity Wakefield in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. The pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and to be directed by Bryan Singer, is described as a reinvention of the 1960s sitcom about The Munsters, a family of “monsters” — vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein, and their “plain” cousin (Wakefield) — that will feature striking visuals in the vein of Fuller’s ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies. O’Connell will play family patriarch, the handsome and gangly Herman Munster, a great dad and devoted husband. He is married to Lily, a vampire, with whom he has fathered a 10-year-old boy, Eddie (Mason Cook). Strong but sentimental, Herman works at a funeral home, and worries that Eddie’s transformation into a werewolf and burgeoning awareness of his family’s origins will crush the boy’s spirit. Fred Gwynne played the role in the original Munsters sitcom. Izzard plays Grandpa in the reboot.
EXCLUSIVE: Young actor Mason Cook (Spy Kids In 4D) is set to co-star opposite Eddie Izzard and Charity Wakefield in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. The pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and to be directed by Bryan Singer, is described as a reinvention of the 1960s sitcom about The Munsters, a family of “monsters” — vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein, and their “plain” cousin (Wakefield) — that will feature striking visuals in the vein of Fuller’s ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies. Cook will play Eddie Munster, Lily and Herman’s only child, an earnest boy scout and budding werewolf. Horrified to learn the truth about himself, he refuses to eat meat and faces off against Grandpa (Izzard) at dinner. Cook has recurred on ABC’s The Middle and has roles in two upcoming movies: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, where he plays a younger version of the title character, played by Steve Carell; and Disney’s The Lone Ranger.
EXCLUSIVE: British actress Charity Wakefield is set to co-star opposite Eddie Izzard in NBC’s Munsters reboot Mockingbird Lane. The pilot, written by Bryan Fuller and to be directed by Bryan Singer, is described as a reinvention of the 1960s sitcom about a family of “monsters” – vampires, werewolves and Frankenstein and their “plain” cousin (Wakefield) — with striking visuals in the vein of Fuller’s ABC dramedy Pushing Daisies. Wakefield will play Marilyn, Lily’s beautiful niece and the only “normal” Munster (which makes her rather abnormal). Saved from being devoured by her own mother as an infant, she lives with the Munsters but has not inherited any of their special attributes. A college student who believes in good manners and congeniality toward the new neighbors, she regularly clashes with Grandpa (Izzard), but she gets along well with Aunt Lily and Uncle Herman, as well as with her young cousin Eddie. Beverly Owen created Marilyn in the first episodes of the original series, replaced by Pat Priest for most of its run.
This marks the second U.S. gig for Wakefield following her starring role on another NBC pilot, 2010′s David E. Kelley dramedy Legally Mad. Well known for her stage work in London, Wakefield is probably best known to American audiences for her starring role on the BBC miniseries … Read More »