EXCLUSIVE: Comedy veteran Jeff Astrof (Grounded For Life) has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner of TBS’ new comedy series Ground Floor, from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer and Warner Horizon. Additionally, Astrof has signed a two-script development deal with Warner Bros. TV. Ground Floor, which Cougar Town co-creator Lawrence wrote with Greg Malins, is a workplace comedy with a romantic twist that stars Skylar Astin, Briga Heelan and John C. McGinley. Astrof will serve as executive producer alongside Lawrence and Jeff Ingold. The project, which received a 10-episode series order last month, has been looking for a showrunner as Lawrence also landed two new series on the broadcast networks for next season, Undateable on NBC and Surviving Jack on Fox. Astrof, repped by ICM Partners and Michael Gendler, most recently wrote and executive produced the multi-camera version of John Leguizamo’s family comedy pilot King John, which was shot and was in serious contention for a series pickup. Last season, he also sold multi-camera comedy project Fat, Forty And Fired to ABC with a put pilot commitment.
In his first TV gig since leaving Current TV, Keith Olbermann has been tapped by Turner Sports as host of TBS’ Major League Baseball postseason studio show, joining analyst and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Additionally, Ron Darling, who joined TBS as an MLB analyst in 2008, has inked a long-term extension. And Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will transition from the studio to the broadcast booth full time this postseason. Ripken, who primarily has served as a TBS studio analyst for the last six years, will join Ernie Johnson (play-by-play) and Darling as a three-man commentator team throughout the 2013 MLB Postseason, including the network’s coverage of the Division Series and exclusive telecast of the National League Championship Series.
“The demo didn’t evolve, it’s just endured” since the 1960s when ABC promoted the measurement to sell ads on American Bandstand, Turner Entertainment Networks President Steve Koonin …
TBS and TNT are about to become the first national entertainment networks in the industry to stream on-air content live across multiple platforms 24/7, including through the networks’ websites and a pair of newly created Watch TNT and Watch TBS apps. The announcement was made during TNT and TBS’s annual Upfront presentation today in New York. Live streaming is the latest phase in the rollout of TV Everywhere, the industry-wide initiative that gives subscribers to cable, satellite and telco video services access to more of their favorite shows across a wide range of digital platforms.
At its upfront today, TNT and TBS unveiled scripted and unscripted development slates, which include projects from Steven Spielberg, Steve Carell, Diablo Cody, Denis Leary, Sylvester Stallone, Dick Wolf, Nicholas Sparks, Marcia Clark, Dee Johnson, Walt Becker, Jamie Foxx and James Duff. Here is the list with details:
Related: TBS & TNT To Offer Live Streaming 24/7
SCRIPTED SERIES DEVELOPMENT
This project is the story of a group of young scientists who, while investigating what they believe to be a haunted house, stumble upon a portal into the time-space continuum. Things then take a turn for the worse when one of their own vanishes into the portal.
– Executive Producers: Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Scott Rosenberg (writer), Jeff Pinkner (writer), Josh Appelbaum (writer) and Andre Nemec (writer)
– Production Company/Studio: Amblin Television
EXCLUSIVE: The week keeps getting better for Bill Lawrence. After getting a series pickup at Fox for Surviving Jack on Wednesday and at NBC for Undateable earlier this morning, he also just received a series order for comedy pilot Ground Floor at TBS, which recently renewed his Cougar Town. Ground Floor, which the Scrubs and Cougar Town creator wrote with former Friends and How I Met Your Mother executive producer Greg Malins, is a workplace comedy with a romantic twist that stars Skylar Astin (Pitch Perfect), Briga Heelan (Cougar Town) and John C. McGinley (Scrubs). Ground Floor, which has received a 10-episode order for a 2014 launch, is being produced by Lawrence’s Doozer in association with Warner Horizon TV, with Lawrence and Jeff Ingold serving as executive producers. This marks a second series pickup for Heelan today, who also has a supporting role on Undateable. She is in first position on Ground Floor but, given the fact both series hail from the same studio and producer, it is conceivable that she might do both. TBS’ other comedy pilot, Do It Yourself, remains in contention.
The CeeLo Life will follow the singer and former The Voice coach as he tackles his packed schedule of producing, recording and performing, and also looks at the creative partnership with his longtime best friends — Big Gipp, Khujo …
EXCLUSIVE: Cougar Town writer-producer Blake McCormick has been elevated to showrunner of the ensemble comedy as it heads into its fifth season and second on TBS. McCormick replaces Ric Swartzlander, who ran Cougar Town last season. Additionally, McCormick has signed a blind script deal with Warner Bros TV through studio-based Doozer, the company of Cougar Town co-creator/executive producer Bill Lawrence. Lawrence exited Cougar Town after Season 3 to segue into his overall deal at Warner Bros TV but ended up being pretty hands-on during Season 4 since he didn’t have a series on the air. That likely won’t be the case next season as he has three pilots in contention for series pickup: Undateable at NBC, I Suck At Girls at Fox and Ground Floor at TBS.
Theo Von To Host TBS Hidden Camera Show ‘Deal With It’, Bravo Sets Airdate For ‘Princesses: Long Island’
TBS has tapped comedian Theo Von to host Deal With It, the hidden-camera show from executive producer Howie Mandel that is set to premiere July 16. In the series, based on a format created by Keshet Broadcasting and United Studios, unsuspecting members of the public will be secretly dared to pull a prank on their unwitting companions with no time to prepare, and must obey all instructions given through an earpiece from a secret control room nearby to win cash and prizes. Von appeared on Road Rules and Last Comic Standing and hosts Yahoo’s daily recap show Primetime In No Time. He also created CrankTexts.com, a website where he texts random cell numbers and gets into conversations with total strangers — a seeming fit with the premise of Deal With It. He is repped by APA, Levity Entertainment and Lev Ginsburg.
EXCLUSIVE: Will & Grace creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are venturing into cable with half-hour projects at Showtime and TBS. Both shows, which are in development, hail from Kohan and Mutchnick’s KoMut Entertainment and Warner Bros TV/Warner Horizon, where the duo is under and overall deal. At Showtime, Kohan and Mutchnick are in negotiations for an untitled single-camera comedy project — an Upstairs/Downstairs dark comedy that centers on a self-made first generation American billionaire, his family, and the staff that serves them. This marks Kohan and Mutchnick’s first project at Showtime, reuniting them with the cable network’s entertainment president David Nevins. The pair credit Nevis with helping them get Will & Grace on the air as a development executive at NBC where he got behind the duo’s script. At TBS, Kohan and Mutchnick have Clipsters, an ensemble multi-camera workplace comedy set in a hipster barbershop in the not-so-hip town of Worcester, MA (just outside of Boston). The project was developed for TBS after meeting Kohan and Mutchnick took with the network’s programming chief Michael Wright.
EXCLUSIVE: John C. McGinley, who played the acerbic Dr. Cox on Scrubs, is set to play a boss on Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence‘s new workplace comedy, multi-camera comedy pilot Ground Floor at TBS. Written by Lawrence and Greg Malins and directed by Gail Mancuso, Ground Floor is set in the world of corporate America and centers on a 29-year-old successful alpha male who crosses paths with his company’s support staff, a tight-knit group of truly happy and care-free people. McGinley will play the boss, Mr. Mansfield. Lawrence and Malins, who originally wrote Ground Floor for CBS last year, didn’t create the character with McGinley in mind but liked him a lot for the role, and so did TBS. “I’d kill to work with John on anything,” Lawrence said.
Conan O’Brien’s late-night TBS show is getting a companion. The network has ordered a four-week run of a new untitled late-night comedy series starring comedian Pete Holmes and produced by O’Brien’s Conaco production company, which is also behind O’Brien’s talker Conan. The Pete Holmes series will launch in fall 2013 and air four nights a week (Monday-Thursday) at midnight, following Conan. Taped before a live studio audience, the new show will combine sketches, short films, live comedy, field pieces and in-studio guest interviews. O’Brien, Jeff Ross, David Kissinger, Nick Bernstein and Dave Rath executive produce.
Conaco has had the right to program the slot after Conan as part of O’Brien’s original deal with TBS, which he signed in 2010, shortly after his exit from NBC. The agreement mirrors that of David Letterman’s production company Worldwide Pants, which owns/produces both Late Show and Late Late Show. Conaco’s initial focus was on getting Conan off the ground, with TBS airing various repeats after it. It gradually began exploring potential companions, with TBS ordering a pilot for a Holmes-fronted talk show in July. “Pete Holmes is an enormously likable performer with an agile and innovative mind,” said O’Brien. “I’m really looking forward to his show, and I’ve already had my son program my DVR.”