June 22, 2012 3:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Fall TV Pilot Preview: NBC's 'The New Normal'
NBC is looking for a Modern Family of its own with The New Normal, a half-hour comedy from Glee co-creator Ryan Muphy and Glee scribe Ali Adler that revolves around a gay couple and their surrogate as they prepare to start a family.
The Hollywood Reporter screened the pilot for the comedy -- one of seven the network picked up to series in May -- and as part of our Fall Preview 2012 have five things to know about the freshman entry before its fall launch.
1. The creators know what they're writing about. Writer/executive producers Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler (Glee, Chuck, No Ordinary Family) are both openly gay and drew from their experiences of having (or in Murphy's case) wanting to have a family. The series marks Murphy's first foray into half-hour comedy and his fourth on the air this year behind Glee, Oxygen's reality competition series The Glee Project and FX's American Horror Story.
2. Andrew Rannells (Book of Mormon) and Justin Bartha (The Hangover) star as a gay couple who want to have a baby. While there are traces of Modern Family's Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) in Rannells' self-involved Bryan and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) in Bartha's level-headed doc David, New Normal's duo could be a window into the early years of their Modern Family counterparts pre-Lily.
3. Ellin Barkin plays the grandmother to Goldie (Georgia King), the couple's surrogate, who don't see eye to eye on … anything. Goldie's sweet, (clearly) gay friendly and wants the best for her young daughter; Barkin's "Nana From Hell" is a bigoted, fast-talking, gun-toting homophobe who could easily go toe-to-toe with Jessica Lange's Constance from the first season of co-creator Murphy's other show, FX's American Horror Story.
4. Familiar faces: The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Nene Leakes goes from recurring Glee swim coach Roz Washington to a similarly sharp-tongued assistant to Rannells' Bryan -- only here she's set to be a series regular who squares off with Barkin's Nana From Hell instead of Jane Lynch's Sue Sylvester. Oh, and Leakes isn't the only familiar Glee face in the pilot: another of the show's favorite recurring guests pops up in a hilarious cameo -- as does one of Adler and Murphy's fellow scribes. Fans of The Big Gay Sketch Show's Julie Goldman will also be pleased to see her in a nonspeaking role that greatly impacts Goldie.
5. Modern Family's Luke, Manny, Alex and company have some competition in the smart kids on primetime in Bebe Wood's Shania, Goldie's young daughter who is a whip smart, sharp-talking dynamo with a heart of gold that will undoubtedly teach Rannells' Bryan a thing or 10.
The New Normal premieres Tuesday, Sept. 11 9:30 p.m. on NBC. Check out a promo below and hit the comments with your thoughts. Will you watch?