EXCLUSIVE: New Girl co-star Jake Johnson is expanding his relationship with Fox, the network behind the quirky comedy. Johnson has teamed with writer-director Max Winkler for The B Team, a single-camera comedy produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV. Johnson and Winkler are co-writing the project, about five regular underdogs who, sick of getting screwed over, come together and form a real-world version of The Avengers. But, lacking any actual superpowers, they must rely on their intelligence and cunning to turn the tables on those who take advantage of the powerless. Winkler is attached to direct the potential pilot, while Johnson is poised to make his directorial debut with an episode if the project goes to series. The two executive produce with Imagine’s Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo. READ MORE »
On the heels of freshman The Mindy Project getting a pickup for two more episodes, bringing its first season order to 24 episodes, Fox has done the same with its two returning live-action comedies: …
Charlie Mason is an AwardsLine contributor
A whole thesaurus-full of adjectives has been bestowed upon Zooey Deschanel over the course of her almost-15-year showbiz career. But none have had quite the staying power of “adorkable,” the descriptor that Fox coined to sum up her character Jess Day on the fall breakout New Girl. Mind you, it doesn’t faze the 32-year-old actress, who in real life comes off far brainier than zany. “It was a really great tagline for the show’s first season,” says the sitcom veteran (Frasier), movie star (Elf) and indie darling ((500) Days of Summer). “I can’t complain.” Nonetheless, it probably won’t be long until she gets stamped with another label: Emmy nominee.
AWARDSLINE: I hope you’re not superstitious, because I’d like to wish you luck with that Emmy nod I suspect you’re about to get.
ZOOEY DESCHANEL: Oh, thanks. But I haven’t won anything since fifth-grade student council, so I try not to think about that stuff. I mean, obviously, I would be to-the-moon excited if I were to be recognized. But I would never want to even assume (that I might get a nomination).
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
If the 2011-2012 TV schedule is any indication, girls just want to be funny. There are probably more new comedies created, co-created or executive-produced by women in primetime than at any time in history: 2 Broke Girls (Whitney Cummings), The B**** In Apartment 23 (co-creator Nahnatchka Khan) and Girls (Lena Dunham, 2011’s best first screenplay winner at the Independent Spirit Awards for Tiny Furniture). There are more who also might find themselves in the Emmy mix, and Awardsline spoke separately to some of them: Jessika Borsiczky, co-executive producer of Showtime’s House of Lies; Emily Kapnek, creator and co-executive producer of ABC’s Suburgatory; Elizabeth Meriwether, creator and co-executive producer of the Fox comedy New Girl and Emily Spivey, the Saturday Night Live veteran who created and is a co-executive producer of NBC’s Up All Night.
AWARDSLINE: There’s been a lot said about the new shows with women at the helm, especially in comedy. Certainly female comedy was a goldmine for the movies in 2011 with Bridesmaids. What’s going on?
EMILY SPIVEY: I think there just happened to be some ladies with ideas that people liked, I don’t think it was a big conspiracy to get a bunch of ‘lady shows’ on the air. The time has come when more ladies are trying comedy. In the past it was kind of a man thing, especially with stand-up. I think women are really finding their voices and being allowed to be a little more aggressive and speaking about topics that maybe a few years ago were a little more taboo than they are now.
JESSIKA BORSICZKY: We are sort of hitting a place where there’s some real seniority to women in television. When I started at HBO (in the movie division) in 1992 I certainly wasn’t running television shows, it took a long time. But obviously storytelling and movies reflect what’s interesting about our times. The universe of what it is to be a modern woman right now is deep, it’s changing, there’s a lot of fluctuation in family and marriage. Women are now out-earning men and out-educating men and having babies without men so there are a lot of stories to tell. And look at Girls, it’s also showing us a side of what it is to be a young woman that’s new.
Max Greenfield has joined Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler in the cast of They Came Together. Greenfield, seen on Fox’s New Girl, will play the wayward couch surfing younger brother of Rudd’s character. David Wain directs the romantic …
Damon Wayans Jr is heading to the Tuesday 9 PM slot after all. The actor starred in the pilot for Fox’s New Girl but had to pull out because his series in first position, ABC’s Happy Endings, was surprisingly renewed for a second season last May. Now he will face New Girl as ABC is slotting Happy Endings in the Thursday 9 PM slot this fall. ABC opening a 9-10 PM comedy block on Tuesday is surprising given the fact that the network last May said it would expand its new Last Man Standing-anchored Tuesday 8-9 PM comedy block to 10 PM in January with the younger-skewing Cougar Town and Don’t Trust The B—- in the 9 PM hour. But the network abandoned the idea, with ABC topper Paul Lee citing the strength of New Girl for the decision. Now the network is pitting Happy Endings and Don’t Trust The B— against New Girl and Mindy Kaling’s The Mindy Project.
By the beginning of February last year, the broadcast networks had renewed nine scripted series: ABC’s Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, The Middle and Cougar Town, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (three-year pickup) and NCIS and Fox’s Raising Hope. A month later, the number climbed to 10 with a two-year deal for CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. We’re at the end of February now, and the networks are yet to pick up a single existing scripted series for next season. That is a very unusual pattern as the broadcast networks normally like to reward their top performers with early renewals.
There is no doubt that shows like ABC’s Modern Family and Once Upon A Time, CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NCIS or Fox’s New Girl will be back next season. And yet, two-and-a-half months before the upfronts, there is not a single scripted series except for those under multi-year deals (Big Bang, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons) to have their places on the schedule for next season already secured. The dry spell may finally be broken soon as Fox is nearing a decision on freshman Terra Nova, whose chances for renewal have increased over the past few weeks.
The CW hasn’t been able to successfully launch a reality series in its six-year history. (Long-running hit America’s Next Top Model originated on UPN.) That is not going to change after the premiere of the network’s latest unscripted effort, fashion docu series Remodeled, which opened last night with miniscule 707,000 viewers and 0.3/1 among adults 18-49 to rank as the CW’s lowest-rated series premiere ever. That was well below the CW’s two most recent reality series, the short-lived H8R, which opened with 1.3 million viewers and a 0.6 18-49 rating in September, and Shedding For The Wedding (1.2 million, 0.5). In Remodeled‘s defense, the other two series had America’s Next Top Model as lead-in, while it followed a new 90210, which returned from a five-week hiatus with 1.3 million viewers and a 0.6/2 in 18-49, down 25% in the demo from its last original. Still, the CW put a lot of muscle behind the reality series starring modeling industry veteran Paul Fisher, scheduling multiple runs of its first two episodes. In fact, the network delayed the return of freshman drama Ringer by three weeks to launch Remodeled in its Tuesday 9 PM slot. After a similar pre-emption of New Girl by Fox to accommodate new reality series The X Factor, the freshman comedy never regained the ratings strength it once had. We will see what the impact will be on Ringer.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Nobody could be happier about the success of Fox’s comedy hit New Girl than executive producer Liz Meriwether and star Zooey Deschanel, whose performance has caused the word “adorkable” to enter the popular lexicon. No wait — it’s possible that the Adam F. Goldberg and Christian Slater, executive producer and star of the comedy Breaking In, are even happier: At a TCA panel on Fox comedies Sunday, Goldberg says the renewal of his series was linked to New Girl’s success. “[Fox Entertainment president] Kevin Reilly said: ‘I want to build a whole comedy night,’ so he picked up the actors’ options,” said Goldberg on a panel that included actors and producers from Breaking In, New Girl and Raising Hope, which will represent Fox’s Tuesday night comedy block. “I was in a holding pattern. Nobody wanted New Girl to work more than I did, because that meant we could come back.”
Seconds after the Producers Guild announced the TV series nominations for its 2012 awards, commenters started asking in disbelief: Where is Breaking Bad? Indeed, the acclaimed AMC drama was conspicuously missing from the PGA Award nominations. Underscoring what appeared like a baffling omission, the WGA announced its TV series nominations minutes later, and Breaking Bad led the pack with three nominations. But while their ceremonies are only a month apart in January-February, the PGA Awards and WGA Awards’ eligibility windows vary wildly, leading to the puzzling discrepancies.