Fox cleaned the comedy deck today, pulling the plug on freshman series Dads, Enlisted and Surviving Jack and passing on half-hour pilots Fatrick, Dead Boss and No Place Like Home. The two Fox comedy pilots that had been considered strongest, Sober Companion and Cabot College, remain in contention as Fox is said to be mulling a change in its comedy strategy for next season, likely abandoning the two-hour comedy block, which had been struggling mightily. On the hourlong side, there will be no second season for Rake though it has not been officially cancelled.
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The cancellation of Dads, Enlisted and Surviving Jack leaves Brooklyn Nine-Nine as the only freshman Fox comedy to make it to a second season. There had been talk as recently as several days ago about Dads possibly getting a reprieve. While not well received by critics, to put it mildly, the multi-camera series performed as well or even better than the renewed Fox comedies — Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl and The Mindy Project – and it comes from sister studio 20th TV and one of Fox’s top producers, Seth MacFarlane.
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Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, creators of Warner Bros TV‘s upcoming Fox comedy series Surviving Jack, have signed a two-year overall deal with the studio, which begins June 1. Surviving Jack, which the duo executive produce with Bill Callahan, who is serving as co-showrunner alongside them, Bill Lawrence and Jeff Ingold, was based on Halpern’s bestselling book I Suck At Girls. Halpern and Schumacker, repped by ICM Partners, previously co-created CBS’ S#*! My Dad Said for WBTV and CBS with Max Mutchnick and David Cohen. It was based on another Halpern bestseller, Shit My Dad Says.
Related: TCA: Justin Halpern Says Dad Better Suited For ‘Surviving Jack’ Than ‘$h*! My Dad Says’
Fox’s new Surviving Jack, about a dad and his relationship with his son in the ’90s, is based on Justin Halpern’s autobiographical book, I Suck At Girls. Halperin also created CBS’ comedy $h*! My Dad Says — also about his relationship with his father — based on his book that was, in turn, based on his Twitter feed. TV critics attending a Q&A about Jack at TCA this afternoon noted the similarity between the two comedies and asked what went wrong with the CBS one. “It was really bad,” Halpern said. “You’re aware you created that show,” joked Bill Lawrence, who exec produces Jack with Halpern, Patrick Schumacker and Jeff Ingold. “Yes, and I put the blame squarely on Patrick,” Halpern joked. The CBS sitcom, he said, was “very much the wrong tone.” The dad character, he said, did not live well in a multi-cam sitcom world where it’s all about setup and punch lines. On a single cam, “the comedy comes more organically,” he said.
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EXCLUSIVE: Fox is firming up its midseason comedy scheduling plans. I’ve learned that the network is going to launch Surviving Jack after American Idol on Thursday. The comedy’s order has been trimmed from 13 to 8 episodes, but unlike the recent order reduction for Fox’s other midseason live-action comedy, Us & Them, this decision was dictated by scheduling reasons — Fox will have eight weeks worth of available 8:30 PM slots on Thursday when the American Idol results show gets pared down for the first time to 30 minutes. With Us & Them unlikely to factor into Fox’s midseason plans, the decision to put Surviving Jack on Thursday indicates that the network is likely planning to keep its Tuesday comedy block intact for the remainder of the season. New Girl and The Mindy Project have 22-episode orders, and newbie Brooklyn Nine-Nine was given a full-season pickup last week. That means that the remaining comedy, freshman Dads, will probably get a Back 9 order too, and I hear that is in the works.
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Surviving Jack, executive produced by Bill Lawrence, is a Chris Meloni showcase and a coming-of-age comedy that I hear Fox brass hope could capitalize on American Idol’s broad audience. Fox has launched comedies behind a 90-minute American … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rachael Harris is is set as the female lead opposite Chris Meloni in Fox’s midseason comedy series Surviving Jack. The single-camera project, from Warner Bros. TV and Bill Lawrence‘ Doozer, is based on Justin Halpern’s book I Suck At Girls. It centers on a father, Jack Dunlevy (Meloni), and his teen son Frankie (Connor Buckley). Harris plays the Alpha-Mom, Joanne Dunlevy, who has decided to go back to law school, somewhat reluctantly leaving the care of her kids to her brash husband. The role was recast after being played by Alex Kapp Horner in the pilot. (you can watch the series’ trailer below) Harris recently starred opposite David Spade in the ABC comedy pilot Bad Management, which was in serious contention for a series pickup. She also recurs on USA drama Suits and did an arc on Fox comedy New Girl. Read More »
Another newly picked up comedy series is recasting its female lead. Alex Kapp Horner is leaving the Bill Lawrence-produced half-hour Fox comedy Surviving Jack. Based on Justin Halpern’s book I Suck At Girls, the single-camera comedy tells the story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google. It centers on a father, Jack Dunlevy (Chris Meloni), and his teen son Frankie (Connor Buckley). Horner played Jack’s wife in the pilot. Other new comedy series that are recasting their female leads include NBC‘s The Family Guide (Parker Posey) and Sean Saves The World (Lindsay Sloane).