TBS had planned a summer bow for its comedy’s second season, but that target became uncertain after star Steve Byrne suffered an injury to his face. It led his jaw being wired shut for six weeks, and a shutdown of production on Season 2 of the Warner Horizon-produced series until June. TBS said today though that the new season of Sullivan & Son will premiere Thursday, June 13 at 10 PM, meaning the series will make its delivery date.
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.”
I’ve learned that TBS is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to Ground Floor, a multi-camera comedy written by Scrubs and Cougar Town creator Lawrence and former Friends and How I Met Your Mother executive producer Malins. Gail Mancuso has come on board to direct the pilot, to be produced by Warner Horizon Television and Lawrence’s Warner Bros.-based Doozer. The project was originally developed for broadcast last season and landed a pilot production commitment at CBS but did not get made. Set in the modern world of corporate America, Ground Floor 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. He quickly realizes he’s not nearly as happy as he thought he was.
TNT and TBS have signed a new three-year deal with SAG-AFTRA to carry the annual SAG Awards. Last night’s live simulcast of the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on the two cable networks drew a total of 5.2 million viewers, including more than 2.1 million adults 18-49. That was roughly on par with last year’s telecast, up 5% in the coveted 18-49 and down 1% in total viewers. “The SAG Awards are a perfect fit for TBS and TNT, giving us the opportunity each year to target comedy and drama fans with a star-studded night celebrating the best in television and movie acting,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TNT, and TBS. “We are thrilled that TNT and TBS will continue to be home of one of the awards season’s premier events.” Here are the stats:
If a Jackass star and Fear Factor executive producer are teaming for a game show, you know it won’t be of the studio-based quiz show variety. TBS continues its push in unscripted series with a six-episode order to Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show, starring/executive produced by Jackass‘ Bam Margera and executive produced by Fear Factor‘s David A. Hurwitz. Each half-hour episode of the show will feature competitors who vie for $10,000 by facing off against each other in demented, potentially dangerous and occasionally painful challenges, like answering trivia questions while dangling above a pool of trash-filled water or dropping a watermelon on a target after being shot out of a cannon. The loser of each challenge is eliminated until there’s only one contestant left standing to take home the cash prize. Helping design and demonstrate the various challenges are Bam’s friends and cohorts, who occasionally wind up worse off than any of the contestants. Bam’s Bad Ass Game Show, from Bill’s Market & Television Prods., will premiere in 2014. Hurwitz and Margera exec produce with Noah Bonnett (Total Blackout).
Because of its built-in compatibility with hot off-network comedy The Big Bang Theory, TBS‘ new competition series King Of The Nerds sounded as the most promising new Turner reality prospect as TNT and TBS are boosting their unscripted portfolios with a slew of new shows. Last night, King Of The Nerds got off to a solid start with Big Bang as its lead in. The premiere of the unscripted series at 10 PM drew 2 million total viewers, more than 1.2 million adults 18-49 and 586,000 adults 18-34 in Live+Same Day. That was pretty close to TBS’ scripted series premieres behind Big Bang, including the recent TBS debut of Cougar Town (1.3 million adults 18-49 and 613,000 adults 18-34) at the fraction of the cost.
Turner’s major expansion into unscripted series continues. After TNT greenlighted two new reality series in the past two days, sibling TBS today also picked up two new shows: Deal With It, executive produced by Deal Or No Deal alum Howie Mandel, and Trust Me, I’m a Game Show Host, executive produced by Mark Burnett, the hottest reality producer at the moment with The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank and Celebrity Apprentice. Trust Me was originally ordered to pilot by ABC in 2010. Both series are slated to premiere on TBS in late 2013.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Cougar Town co-creator and executive producer Bill Lawrence kicked off the winter TCA press tour this morning by offering up some wisecracks about ABC, the former home of his comedy that has since found a new home at TBS. Lawrence thanked TBS chief Michael Wright (who was onstage as part of the network’s panel) for keeping a show alive that Lawrence “has been trying to kill for years.” He also joked about his feelings regarding ABC’s promotion of Cougar Town by saying that now that the show has moved, “I’m actually seeing ads” for the series. Later in the session, Lawrence quipped that the series’ crew still loves ABC and Disney: “They are still the producers and owners of the show, and I think they are doing a great job.”
During the opening panel, Lawrence and new executive producer Ric Swartzlander concentrated on assuring the press that while the series has moved, it will remain the same. “Transition-wise it was easy because Michael is actually a fan of the show unless he is a really a good liar.… He said I just want you do deliver the same show…other than that there is a little nudity, that’s the only thing. We’ve shifted from Brian Van Holt not wearing his shirt all the time to Josh Hopkins not wearing his shirt all the time.” Both exec producers said TBS wanted to buy Cougar Town as-is, rather than revamp it. “A lot of shows have had weird life spans,” Lawrence said. He added, “Unless you are lucky enough to be a hit today, our goal in network TV and off-network TV is simply to stay alive.”
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
The nerds inherited the stage at TCA in Pasadena this morning, led by a self-professed nerd named Ben Silverman, as Turner — undaunted by recent failures in the reality space as Wedding Day and The Great Escape — introduced a quartet of new unscripted projects to the gathered critics. The first of them to premiere (on January 17) is TBS‘ King Of The Nerds, featuring hosts/exec producers Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong of Revenge Of The Nerds fame and Silverman also exec producing. The show features 11 competitors going head-to-head (literally) in activities that span the “full nerd spectrum” while living together in “Nerdvana.” With a straight face, Silverman admitted, “We debated nerds and geeks (with great gusto) because geeks identify differently. We didn’t want to alienate geeks by calling them nerds, and vice-versa. It was all about how to do things in a different way…We’ve seen more and more people stand up and say, ‘Hey I’m smart and I don’t need to hide it’.” The point of King Of The Nerds, Armstrong added, isn’t to put down or make fun of nerds but to “celebrate nerd culture…We got 11 amazing nerds on this show”.