NBC Orders 12-Episode Andrea Martin Comedy 'Working the Engels'

UPDATED: A co-production through Halfire-CORE Entertainment, it marks the first sitcom collaboration between a U.S. and Canadian broadcaster.
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NBC is set to team with Halfire-CORE for an Andrea Martin comedy vehicle.

As part of its series deal with former NBC executive Marc Graboff's join-venture, the network will co-produce 12 episodes of the Canadian comedy, Working the Engels, starring the SCTV veteran. The arrangement marks the first time a U.S. and Canadian broadcaster have collaborated to produce a half-hour network comedy that will make it to air. 

The series, created and written by Katie and Jane Ford, centers on a family who must band together to keep their heads above water when their father and breadwinner passes away, leaving them a mountain of debt. The Engels must all go to work running Dad’s storefront law firm, with one minor problem — daughter Jenna is the only one who is qualified to practice law.

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“We’re over the moon thrilled to work with NBC and Shaw Media on this series,” Halfire-CORE president Noreen Halpern said in a statement Thursday. “Katie and Jane Ford have created a laugh-out-loud show and we’re delighted to have a comedic legend in Andrea Martin, complemented by a trio of rising stars.”

Martin, who signed on to the project in August well before a U.S. network was attached, will play Ceil, the overly confident family matriarch. She will be joined by stars Kacey Rohl (Hannibal), Azura Skye (American Horror Story) and Benjamin Arthur (Less Than Kind).

Halfire-CORE, which launched earlier this year as a lower-budget scripted programming venture between Graboff's Core Media and Halpern's Halfire Entertainment, is producing in association with Canada's Shaw Media. Katie and Jane Ford will executive produce alongside Howard Busgang, Tom Nursall and Halpern, with a plan in place to begin shooting in Toronto this fall. 

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In June, Halfire-Core announced a three-for-one agreement with NBC, which enabled the company to develop three lower budget dramas for the network, one of which was expected to go to series. At that time, there were no writers or concepts identified. Graboff, who spent the bulk of his career at major broadcast networks, has made a strong push to find other viable financial models to produce TV shows in today's increasingly fractured landscape.

Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com

Twitter: @LaceyVRose