Craig T. Nelson to Star in 'Coach' Follow-Up Series for NBC

The network has handed out a 13-episode straight-to-series commitment for the series from creator Barry Kemp.
Courtesy of Everett Collection

TV's Year of Revivals continues.

NBC has handed out a 13-episode straight-to-series order for a Coach follow-up comedy, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Craig T. Nelson, fresh off his six-season run on NBC's Parenthood, will reprise his role as coach Hayden Fox in the comedy. Barry Kemp — who created the original series that ran on ABC for nine seasons — will return to write the NBC follow-up and exec produce the Universal Television multicamera series with Nelson.

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NBC's sequel picks up 18 years after Coach went off the air in 1997 following a nearly 200-episode run. Nelson's beleaguered football coach is now retired and is called back to become the assistant coach to his own grown son, who is now the new head coach at an Ivy League school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team.

A premiere date for Coach 2.0 has not yet been determined and no additional casting information has been revealed. The original series, produced by Universal Television, featured Jerry Van Dyke as Fox's bumbling assistant Luther and Bill Fagerbakke as fellow assistant coach Dauber; Shelley Fabares played Nelson's wife, Christine.

The series concluded with Hayden and Christine adopting a child after being unable to conceive.

Sources tell THR that NBC, who had the first meeting for the follow-up given its sibling studio Universal is producing, bought the pitch in the room with the straight-to-series order, prompting producers to cancel meetings set up with CBS, ABC and Fox.

While the new series will put the focus on Hayden and his son, sources indicate it's unlikely that any other original castmembers will return, with the role of the wife still unclear given that there is not yet a script after NBC bought the comedy based on its pitch.

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The Coach revival has been in the works for months, with Nelson approached to revive the project toward the end of Parenthood's run when he was debating signing on: "We're talking about it. I'm really at a quandary. But I've been approached and we're thinking about it and talked through it a little bit," he told THR. "I don't know. It would be a new form; it's his son. He adopted a son and his son now has become a coach."

For NBC, Coach comes as the network has been looking to revive its multicamera block this season. The network most recently pulled single-camera comedies About a Boy and Marry Me in favor of multicams One Big Happy and the second season of Undateable. Of NBC's 13 comedy pilots this season, six are multicam — up two year-over-year. Coach also marks NBC's second straight-to-series order of the season, joining single-camera comedy Telenovela, starring Eva Longoria, which also landed a 13-episode order for a fall premiere. Not to be outdone, the network also gave an early six-episode series pickup to multicam The Carmichael Show starring Jerrod Carmichael.

Reboots and revivals have become all the rage this development and pilot season as the broadcast networks look for proven formats in a bid to break through the clutter. ABC has Uncle Buck; CBS has Limitless and Rush Hour; Fox has Minority Report; and NBC has Problem Child. Key to the success of such revivals is having the original creators and producers involved, which Coach has with Universal, Nelson and Kemp.

During its run, Coach was a mainstay at the Emmys, with multiple nominations for its regular and guest cast and wins in 1992 for Nelson and in 1996 for guest star Tim Conway.

Nelson is repped by Paradigm, Tom Hoberman and Forward Entertainment. Kemp is repped by ICM Partners, who packaged NBC's Coach, and Bill Jacobson.

The Coach revival also keeps Nelson in the NBC and Universal fold after starring as Zeek Braverman for all six seasons of the network's recently departed Jason Katims drama Parenthood.

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