12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Lake Bell Comedy 'Bless This Mess' Moves From Fox to ABC With Series Order
Bless This Mess, the Lake Bell comedy from New Girl's Elizabeth Meriwether, is moving forward — but at a different network.
After being picked up to pilot for possible midseason consideration at Fox, Disney-owned ABC has handed out a series order for the single-camera effort starring Bell and Dax Shepard (Parenthood). The six-episode comedy about a newlywed couple's plan to ditch big-city living for a simpler life in Nebraska that doesn't go as expected will premiere in midseason 2019 on ABC. A formal premiere date has not yet been determined.
Bless This Mess was one of three comedies being considered for Fox's midseason or fall schedule. The others — Dan the Weatherman starring Thomas Lennon and Mean Jean featuring Kaitlin Olson and Leah Remini — were also passed over as Fox has limited room on its schedule with coverage of the NFL. The network has refocused its scripted strategy to target broad procedurals and multicamera comedies.
"Bell and Shepard headline a stellar cast in this hilarious take on a classic fish-out-of-water story that we found irresistible,” new ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke said Tuesday in a statement. Bless This Mess marks Burke's first formal order since she was plucked from Disney-owned cabler Freeform to take over for Channing Dungey at ABC.
Bell co-created the series alongside Meriwether and both co-wrote the pilot, which was also directed by Bell. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV, where Meriwether is under an overall deal. The studio will soon move under the Disney umbrella as part of Fox's $70 billion asset sale. Katherine Pope will executive produce the comedy alongside Shepard, Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar (ABC's 20th TV comedies Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless). With the series order, Bless This Mess is now a co-production between 20th TV and ABC Studios.
For Meriwether, meanwhile, Bless This Mess becomes the New Girl grad's second comedy at ABC, joining the rookie Single Parents. The latter single-camera comedy, starring Taran Killam, Leighton Meester and Brad Garrett, has already been picked up for a back-nine order.