6:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ed Helms Comedy From Mike Schur, 'Punky Brewster' Among Scripted Slate at NBCU Streamer
NBCUniversal's newly named streaming service, Peacock, is leaning hard into what the media conglomerate does best in its initial scripted and unscripted slate.
Included in the first official programming announcements are comedies from the likes of its in-house studios' top writer-producers, including a new series from The Good Place creator Mike Schur, a Battlestar Galactica update from Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and unscripted entries from Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels. Peacock is tapping into the company's large vault of IP and will also update series including Saved by the Bell and Punky Brewster, with the latter set as a pilot.
On the drama side, Battlestar Galactica joins the podcast adaptation Dr. Death, starring Christian Slater, Jamie Dornan and Alec Baldwin; the limited series Angelyne, from Esmail and starring Emmy Rossum (and based on a Hollywood Reporter feature story); and the USA-turned-Peacock drama Brave New World. As previously reported, the young adult drama One of Us Is Lying — previously developed for E! — has been picked up to pilot.
On the comedy front, Schur's Ed Helms vehicle Rutherford Falls — which reteams the Office grads — joins a new take on Saved by the Bell from Tracey Wigfield (Great News) that will see Mario Lopez and Elizabeth Berkley reprise their respective roles as A.C. Slater and Jessie Spano. Those straight-to-series orders join the previously announced third season of NBC-turned-Peacock comedy A.P. Bio on the service. On the pilot front, Punky Brewster is joined by fellow half-hour Straight Talk, from executive producer Rashida Jones and starring Jada Pinkett Smith.
On the unscripted front, Amber Ruffin (Late Night With Seth Meyers) will host a stripped-down weekly late-night show produced by Seth Meyers. (That project arrives mere months after broadcast network NBC passed on a scripted journalism comedy starring Ruffin and produced by Meyers.) It will join the Saturday Night Live-inspired docuseries Who Wrote That, from franchise mastermind Lorne Michaels; an original talk show series from Fallon; and a spinoff of Bravo's Real Housewives franchise.
The initial lineup was revealed Tuesday as part of Peacock's first-ever slate of original and library content that will be included on the service, which is set to launch next April with scripted and unscripted titles debuting after the Summer Olympics. Additional comedies, dramas and unscripted series will also be announced in the weeks and months ahead. While originals will begin to debut next summer, it's unclear which of the above will launch when.
Details about each project follow. (All are straight-to-series orders unless designated otherwise.)
RUTHERFORD FALLS (scripted comedy)
Logline: Ed Helms portrays Nathan Rutherford, the eponymous denizen of a small New England town, who is having difficulty facing the inevitable changes to his way of life.
Cast: Ed Helms
Team: W/EP/co-creators: Ed Helms, Mike Schur, Sierra Ornelas (Brooklyn Nine-Nine); EP David Miner, Mike Falbo
Studio: Universal Television, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment, Pacific Electric Picture Company
THE AMBER RUFFIN SHOW (unscripted comedy)
Logline: Each week, The Amber Ruffin Show will showcase Amber's signature smart-and-silly take on the week. A late-night show with just the good parts — the comedy.
Team: W Jenny Hagel; EP Seth Meyers, Mike Shoemaker
Studio: Universal Television
STRAIGHT TALK (comedy pilot)
Logline: Examines what happens when two opposing ideologies are forced into an odd coupling. The main characters will be challenged by one another, making the moral lines at which they once stood harder to define. Jada Pinkett Smith stars.
Team: W/creator: Kara Brown (In the Dark, Grownish); D/EP Rashida Jones; T/EP Jada Pinkett Smith; EP: Joy Gorman (Anonymous Content), Deniese Davis (Color Creative)
Studio: Universal Television & Anonymous Content
PUNKY BREWSTER (comedy pilot)
Logline: In this multicamera/hybrid continuation of the iconic '80s sitcom about a bright young girl raised by a foster dad, Punky is now a single mother of three trying to get her life back on track when she meets a young girl who reminds her a lot of her younger self. Soleil Moon Frye reprises the role that made her famous.
Team: W/EP Steve and Jim Amogida; EP/T Soleil Moon Frye; EP Tim Pastore, Jimmy Fox (All3Media America/Main Event Media), David Duclon; D/EP Jonathan Judge
Studio: UCP, Universal Television
DR. DEATH (drama)
Logline: Based on Wonderly’s hit podcast of the same name, Dr. Death tells the terrifying true story of Dr. Christopher Duntsch (Jamie Dornan), a rising star in the Dallas medical community. Young, charismatic and ostensibly brilliant, Dr. Duntsch was building a flourishing neurosurgery practice when everything suddenly changed. Patients entered his operating room for complex but routine spinal surgeries and left permanently maimed or dead. As victims piled up, two fellow physicians, neurosurgeon Robert Henderson (Alec Baldwin) and vascular surgeon Randall Kirby (Christian Slater), set out to stop him. Dr. Death explores the twisted mind of a sociopath and the gross negligence of the system designed to protect the most defenseless among us.
Team: W/EP Patrick Macmanus (Happy); EP Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch (Escape Artists); Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy (Wondery)
ANGELYNE (limited drama series)
Logline: A limited series based on the Hollywood Reporter feature that explored the identity of L.A.’s mysterious billboard bombshell. Shameless grad Emmy Rossum will star as Angelyne.
Team: EP Emmy Rossum (Composition 8), Sam Esmail (EsmailCorp), Chad Hamilton (Anonymous Content), Lucy Tcherniak, Allison Miller; Consultant: The Hollywood Reporter's award-winning senior writer Gary Baum
BRAVE NEW WORLD (drama)
Logline: Based on Aldous Huxley’s groundbreaking 1932 novel, the drama imagines a utopian society that has achieved peace and stability through the prohibition of monogamy, privacy, money, family and history itself.
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, Harry Lloyd, Kylie Bunbury, Hannah John-Kamen, Sen Mitsuji, Joseph Morgan, Nina Sosanya, Demi Moore
Team: W/EP/showrunner David Wiener (Homecoming); EP Grant Morrison, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (Amblin Television); EP/D: Owen Harris; EP (first episode): Brian Taylor
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (drama)
Logline: Battlestar Galactica returns to television with Sam Esmail producing.
Team: EP Sam Esmail, Chad Hamilton
ONE OF US IS LYING (drama pilot)
Logline: Based on Karen M. McManus’ New York Times best-selling novel of the same name, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has
something to hide.
Team: W Erica Saleh (Instinct); Producers: John Sacchi and Matt Groesch (5 More Minutes Productions)
PSYCH 2: LASSIE COME HOME (TV movie)
Logline: Santa Barbara police chief Carlton Lassiter is ambushed on the job and left for dead. In a vintage Psych-style Hitchcockian nod, he begins to see impossible happenings around his recovery clinic. Shawn and Gus return to Lassie’s side in Santa Barbara and are forced to navigate the personal, the professional and possibly the supernatural. Separated from their new lives in San Francisco, our heroes find themselves unwelcome in their old stomping grounds as they secretly untangle a twisted case without the benefit of the police, their loved ones, or the quality sourdough bakeries of the Bay Area. What they uncover will change the course of their relationships forever.
Cast: James Roday, Dulé Hill, Maggie Lawson, Kirsten Nelson, Corbin Bernsen and Tim Omundson
Team: W/D/EP Steve Franks; W/EP James Roday; W Andy Berman; EP Chris Henzie, Dulé Hill
Studio: UCP, Thruline Entertainment
SAVED BY THE BELL (comedy)
Logline: When California Gov. Zack Morris (the role memorably played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) gets into hot water for closing too many low-income high schools, he proposes they send the affected students to the highest performing schools in the state — including Bayside High. The influx of new students gives the overprivileged Bayside kids a much needed and hilarious dose of reality.
Cast: Mario Lopez, Elizabeth Berkley
Team: W/EP Tracey Wigfield; EP Peter Engel, Franco Bairo; P Lopez, Berkley
Studio: Universal Television
WHO WROTE THAT (docuseries)
Logline: Offers a behind the scenes look at Saturday Night Live's most important writers.
Team: W/EP Andy Breckman & Susan Morrison; D Brett Hodge; EP Lorne Michaels, Andrew Singer, Erin Doyle, Erik Howard (Broadway Video); Howard Klein (3 Arts), Derik Murray, Brian Gersh (Network Entertainment); AP Eddie Michaels (Broadway Video)
Studio: Universal Television