Female-Driven 'What About Bob?' Reboot Picked Up to Pilot at NBC

'What About Barb?' hails from writing duo Joe Port and Joe Wiseman.
'What About Bob?' (1991)

NBC is looking to Frank Oz's 1991 feature What About Bob? for its next comedy.

The network has handed out a pilot order to What About Barb?, a female-focused take on the Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss starrer, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Based on the movie, the single-camera comedy revolves around a psychotherapist who tries to cut ties with her most overbearing patient but is unsuccessful and gains an annoying family member in the process.

Writing duo Joe Port and Joe Wiseman (The Odd Couple, The Crazy Ones, 1600 Penn, New Girl) will pen the script and executive produce the comedy. Barb hails from ABC Studios, whose film arm Touchstone Pictures produced the Tom Schulman-penned feature film and whose Buena Vista Pictures distributed it.

The original movie starred Murray as Bob Wiley, a good-natured and divorced man who seeks therapy from Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss), a New York psychoanalytical psychiatrist with an ego. Unable to cope when his doctor goes on vacation and he is left only with a copy of Baby Steps, Marvin's new book about emotional disorder theories in which he details his philosophy of treating patients and their phobias, Bob follows him on vacation. The feature opened to solid reviews and grossed $63 million domestically. Watch the trailer for Bob, below.

Barb becomes the first reboot to score a pilot pickup this season. They continue to remain in high demand as broadcast, cable and streaming outlets look for proven IP in a bid to cut through a cluttered scripted landscape that is quickly approaching 500 original series. Key to the remakes is having the original producers involved in some capacity — ABC Studios counts as the Disney studio owns the rights to Bob — as more studios look to monetize their existing film libraries.

This development season featured a number of reboots, including Car Wash (ABC), Sneakers (NBC), Enemy of the State (ABC), War of the Worlds (MTV), Magnum P.I. (ABC), The Lost Boys (CW), Varsity Blues (CMT), The Departed (Amazon), Let the Right One In (TNT) and L.A. Law, among others.

Barb marks a key off-network sale for ABC Studios, which this season does not have a show on NBC. For NBC, meanwhile, Barb becomes the network's third comedy pilot order of the season and joins a family comedy from the Fresh Off the Boat producers as well as a workplace comedy from Seth Meyers. The network also has its 10-episode straight-to-series Will and Grace revival for next season already locked in. 

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