Capping off his first time before press as NBC Entertainment chairman, Paul Telegdy delivered yet another surprise on Saturday.
The network has handed out a straight-to-series, 11-episode order for the Dwayne Johnson comedy Young Rock, inspired by his life and featuring the mega-star.
Johnson will appear in every episode, as the focus and inspiration of the series will be on his formative years. The single-camera comedy will be co-written by former Fresh Off the Boat showrunner Nahnatchka Khan and her longtime collaborator Jeff Chiang. Both will executive produce alongside Johnson and his Seven Bucks Productions' Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jennifer Carreras.
The project hails from Universal Television, which inked Khan — who created ABC's Fresh Off the Boat — to a rich eight-figure overall deal last year that saw her move her Fierce Baby Productions shingle from her longtime home at 20th Century Fox TV. The company's credits include ABC's Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23, on which Khan worked with Chiang.
A premiere date for the Johnson series has not been determined, but given that NBC's midseason schedule is set, Young Rock will likely be for the 2020-21 broadcast season. This is the second straight-to-series pickup that will likely be earmarked for NBC next season and joins Ted Danson's L.A. mayoral comedy from 30 Rock duo Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
Johnson most recently hosted and produced NBC's unscripted series The Titan Games, which has already been renewed for a second season. He can currently be seen in Jumanji: The Next Level, which has grossed more than $600 million at the worldwide box office, and will next star in Disney's Jungle Cruise feature.
Broadcast networks continue to look to recognizable stars as well as reboots and revivals as a way to cut through an increasingly crowded scripted landscape that, in 2019, featured a record 532 scripted originals.
Young Rock capped a busy morning at TCA for Telegdy, who also announced a three-season renewal for the medical drama New Amsterdam, the return of Fey and Amy Poehler as hosts for the 2021 Golden Globes, a pickup for the unscripted series Making It and a nature docuseries from BBC Studios.