NBC Chief "Hopeful" About 'The Carmichael Show's' Future Amid Episode Count Debate

The comedy has not yet been renewed for a third season because of ongoing discussions with producer 20th Century Fox Television about an episode count.
Chris Haston/NBC
'The Carmichael Show'

Will The Carmichael Show return for season three?

That's become one of the biggest mysteries heading into NBC's upfront presentation on Monday since the network has yet to the renew the sophomore multicamera sitcom starring comedian Jerrod Carmichael.

"I was hoping we would have it by now," NBC Entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt told reporters on a conference call Sunday discussing the network's new fall schedule when asked about a renewal. "We're just going back and forth with the studio about the number of episodes, honestly."

Co-produced by 20th Century Fox and Universal Television, The Carmichael Show has been a steady ratings performer (1.4 among adults 18-49) and also has earned acclaimed for its ability to tackle tough topics like gun control, religion, race and even the scandal surrounding former network star Bill Cosby. (The show will next take on Donald Trump in the May 29 season finale.)

Season one, which unrolled over just three weeks last summer, ran six episodes, with Season 2 getting a bump up to a 13-episode order. Questions over a season three episode count have kept the show from being formally picked up as talks continue between NBC and 20th.

"I don’t know if it's going to be immediately or in the next couple of days, but hopefully we'll resolve it soon," said Greenblatt. "The studio always wants more episode than the networks do. … You get into a second season of a show and there are contractual obligations that are in that contract, most of which are based on antiquated ways of doing business."

He added: "[We're] just trying to agree on the number of episodes that works for everybody."

In addition to the acclaim that the show has received, the wait for its renewal is surprising given NBC's shallow comedy bench. The network recently canceled most of its freshman slate, including Telenovela and Crowded, as well as third-year comedy Undateable. The America Ferrera starrer Superstore is now the only returning half-hour on NBC's schedule. It will return in the fall paired with freshman comedy The Good Place from Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur. Unlike both of those series, and most on the network's schedule, The Carmichael Show is a co-production with an outside studio, which has made a renewal that much more complicated.

"The world is a different place than it once was, and we certainly take into consideration ownership issues and where they're going on the schedule," said Greenblatt. "At the end of the day, we 're looking at the best shows scheduled in the best place, and if that also advantages our own studio, that's great, but I don’t think we will want to do that to the detriment of our schedule."

Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series pickups with THR's handy scorecard and follow the pilot crop status here. For full Upfronts 2016 coverage, go to THR.com/upfronts

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