3:15pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC Orders Comedy Pilots From Mike Schur, Tina Fey, Marlon Wayans, DC Comics
NBC is getting a jump on pilot season, handing out comedy orders to four half-hours from proven producers.
Ordered to pilot are comedies produced by Tina Fey (30 Rock), producer-star Marlon Wayans, Mike Schur (Parks and Recreation) and DC Comics.
The first is an untitled effort from 30 Rock collaborators Fey, Tracey Wigfield, Robert Carlock and David Miner that is based on Wigfield's life. The single-camera comedy centers on an already inseparable mother-daughter relationship that becomes more complicated when the mom accepts an internship at her daughter’s workplace. The project is written by Wigfield (The Mindy Project) and is based on her life. From Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment and Fey's Little Stranger, Fey, Carlock, Wigfield and Miner will exec produce the comedy. For her part, Wigfield won an Emmy with Fey for writing 30 Rock's series finale. The new show comes as Fey and Carlock have found success with NBC-turned-Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The Ellie Kemper comedy was picked up straight to series at NBC before moving to the streaming service, where it became a critical and awards-season darling.
Second is multicam comedy Marlon, which like the Wigfield entry is inspired by the life of its producer. Wayans will star in the project that centers on an inappropriate but loving father committed to successfully co-parenting with his polar opposite ex-wife.
Produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts and Wayans Brothers Entertainment, Chris Moynihan will pen the script and exec produce Marlon alongside Rick Alvarez and Michael Rotenberg. Wayans produces.
Third is the untitled Matt Hubbard project, that again, is based on the life of its producer. The single-camera comedy centers on a guy learning to manage the expectations and strong cultural traditions of his in-laws after he moves his family to his wife's hometown. Also from Universal Television and 3 Arts, Hubbard will pen the script and executive produce the effort alongside Parks and Recreation and Master of None exec producer Mike Schur, who will serve as showrunner. Miner also will exec produce.
Fourth is Powerless, the first comedy from DC Entertainment. The single-camera entry is set in the DC Comics universe that's full of superheroes, villains and people just like us. It's described as an office comedy about the exceedingly average employees at an insurance company and their quest to find their own power. Like all DC fare, it hails from Warner Bros. Television and will be written by Ben Queen (A to Z), with Michael Patrick Jann set to exec produce and direct the pilot.
The Fey project was announced in August at NBC's Television Critics Association's summer press tour stop. The entry was a pilot production order, with Thursday's pilot order merely considered a formality as the comedy is expected to go to series. For Schur, the Hubbard vehicle marks his second project this season at the network. He also has 13-episode comedy A Good Place in the works.
Thursday's pilot orders come as semi-autobiographical fare continues to be in high demand as broadcasters and cable networks look for strong voices with clear visions — as well as proven producers — in a bid to cut through the clutter and increased competition.