NBC Orders America Ferrera, Suzanne Martin, Mark-Paul Gosselaar Comedies

UPDATED: Marking the network's first comedy orders of the 2015-16 broadcast season.
Trae Patton/NBC

With a forgettable freshman class, NBC kicked off its comedy pickup orders Thursday with series orders to Universal Television comedies from Ride Along's Will Packer Hot in Cleveland's Suzanne Martin and a single-camera entry starring America Ferrera.

Although NBC is likely to remain No. 1 — or at least tie for No. 1 — the network is coming off a particularly weak season, with several ambitious bets, including State of Affairs, Allegiance and star-studded The Slap, falling short. More troubling: the network's uneven comedy efforts, which included Bad Judge, A to Z and since-abandoned Mission Control. (NBC shrewdly let its own Universal TV-owned Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt go to Netflix, where it earned a two season order.) Industry rumblings suggest the network is significantly more pleased with this year’s drama development crop than it is the half-hours.
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People Are Talking comes from the mind of DJ Nash and represents his latest series at the network following short-lived entries Growing Up Fisher, Guys With Kids and Up All Night, among others. It stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tone Bell and centers on two diverse couples who are both neighbors and best friends. As they go through life side-by-side, they can’t help but analyze and obsess about everything. From topics like sex and race to the fact that the trusted new babysitter might just be a porn star, nothing is out of bounds for this wildly outspoken foursome.

Packer will exec produce the Universal Television multicamera comedy, with How I Met Your Mother alum Pam Fryman directing the pilot. People was one of two comedies Packer had set up this season, his first developing for the small screen. The other, ABC's all-black Uncle Buck adaptation, also has a shot. 

Crowded, meanwhile, hails from Hot in Cleveland's Martin and executive producer Sean Hayes, and is a multigenerational family comedy that focuses on a pair of empty nesters whose later-in-life plan backfires when their two adult daughters move back home. 

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The cast includes Patrick Warburton, Carrie Preston, Stacy Keach and Mirada Cosgrove. The multicamera comedy was considered "on the air" and expands NBC's relationship with Hayes' Universal Television-based Hazy Mills banner, who produces Grimm and Hollywood Game Night. It also marks Martin and Hayes' latest collaboration following Hot in Cleveland and spinoff The Soul Man and comes two years after Sean Saves the World fizzled at the networkJames Burrows directed the pilot.

For its part, Superstore is a single-camera comedy from Universal Television marks America Ferrera's return to the small screen with her first series regular role since Ugly Betty. She stars in the workplace romantic comedy opposite Ben Feldman (who starred in NBC's since-canceled A to Z). The Office's Justin Spitzer penned the script and exec produces alongside David Bernad and Ruben Fleischer, who directed the pilot.

The two multicamera pickups continues NBC's push for in the space, which this season has included One Big Happy as well as the second season of Undateable.

People, Superstore and Crowded join dramas Chicago MedHeartbreaker and Blindspot as well as straight-to-series comedy pickups Coach and Eva Longoria's Telenovela at the network.

Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series orders with THR's handy Scorecard

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit