10:30am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Peacock Sets Expansive Scripted Development Slate Ahead of Formal Unveiling
Hours before Comcast is set to formally unveil the company's streamer with a glitzy presentation to investors in New York, Peacock is preparing for what comes after its April launch.
With a formal launch date and pricing expected to be unveiled during the Thursday presentation, Peacock has put six new scripted projects into its development pipeline. The comedies and dramas hail from producers from within the company (Amy Poehler, Will Forte) and outside (Norman Lear, Mindy Kaling) and join a slate that already includes former Bravo development Queer as Folk as the streamer preps for waves of originals to come.
Among the new development slate are bold dramas — an investigative anthology series that starts with a look at the formation of Twitter; family comedies — a dad (George Wallace) whose son comes home as a determined and proud trans woman (Laverne Cox) from iconic producer Lear; female-focused comedies — a coming-of-age comedy about a former pro soccer player from Poehler and U.S. Women's Team captain Abby Wambach; and niche comedies — Forte reprising his MacGruber role and a comedy about Dungeons & Dragons players.
It's worth noting that the slate (descriptions of each show are below) features originals by producers from the company's broadcast-focused studio Universal TV and Universal Content Productions (which focuses on cable and streaming) as well as outside studios like Sony (where Lear is based) and Warner Bros. TV (where Kaling recent signed after a long career at UTV).
The orders come as Peacock aims to draw a broad audience of viewers to its platform, which is expected to be supported by ads and come with a tiered pricing structure. Formal details on that will be announced Thursday afternoon.
Peacock will feature a collection of originals and library content from across NBCUniversal's brand. Its current scripted slate features Angelyne, Battlestar Galactica, Saved by the Bell, Punky Brewster, Brave New World, Dr. Death and Rutherford Falls. Peacock's strategy is to bring in subscribers with beloved library fare and keep them around with new programming. Peacock, for example, has exclusive streaming rights to The Office and has Rutherford Falls in the works from the former's exec producer Mike Schur and starring castmember Ed Helms.
Here's a closer look at Peacock's six new scripts:
The Adventure Zone
Based on the McElroy Family’s wildly popular Dungeons & Dragons podcast and No. 1 New York Times best-selling graphic novel series, The Adventure Zone is a side-splitting and heart-filled fantasy animated comedy series that follows an unlikely, poorly equipped trio and their beleaguered Dungeon Master as they reluctantly embark on a quest to save their world.
Writer/executive producer: Adam Higgs (Orphan Black)
Executive producers: Clint McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy, Griffin McElroy
Old-school car wash owner Henry (George Wallace) is thrilled that his estranged child is returning to Alabama after 17 years. However, Henry has a lot of soul searching to do when the child he thought was a son returns as the determined, proud, trans woman Desiree (Laverne Cox).
Writer/executive producers: Dan Ewen, Laverne Cox, George Wallace
Executive producers: Norman Lear, Brent Miller
Producer: Paul Hilepo
Studio: Sony Pictures Television
Ellie, a fiercely independent but perpetually single music manager, has always wanted a family but never found a man worthy of the role of “father.” That is, until her 39th birthday, when she decides to ask her gay best friend and co-worker, Jonathan, if he’ll be her sperm donor. When Jonathan surprises himself by saying yes, it sets off a chain of events that turn Ellie and Jonathan’s personal and professional lives upside down as they try to turn their chosen family into a biological one.
Writer/executive producer: Chris Schleicher (The Mindy Project)
Executive producers: Mindy Kaling, Howard Klein
Studio: Warner Bros. Television
Division One is a coming-of-age comedy about an underdog women's collegiate soccer team that gets a new female coach — a former professional soccer player who's fallen from grace — and must decide whether or not they're going to take the risk of trying to be great.
Writer/director/executive producer: Maggie Carey (The To Do List)
Writer/executive producer: Julia Brownell (This Is Us)
Executive producers: Amy Poehler (Paper Kite), Abby Wambach & Glennon Doyle, Kim Lessing (Paper Kite), Dave Becky & Tom Lassally (3 Arts Entertainment)
Studio: Universal Television
Through exclusive access and exhaustive investigative reporting, New York Times best-selling author Nick Bilton draws on hundreds of sources, documents and internal emails to tell intimate true stories of companies behaving badly and technology gone awry. The first installment of this anthology series will be based on Bilton’s acclaimed book Hatching Twitter, a tale of betrayed friendships and high-stakes power struggles that accompanied the meteoric rise of the infamous tech company. One hundred forty characters and a few lines of code changed the world, disrupting the very fabric of the way people communicate. This series will explore the real masterminds behind it all, how it was done, and the colossal ramifications the technology will have on our future.
Writer/executive producer: Nick Bilton
Executive producer: Patrick Macmanus (Peacock's Dr. Death, Happy)
Studio: Universal Content Productions
After rotting in prison for over a decade, America’s ultimate hero and uberpatriot MacGruber is finally released. His mission: to take down a mysterious villain from his past — Brigadier Commander Enos Queeth. With the entire world in the crosshairs, MacGruber (Will Forte), Vicki and Piper must race against time to defeat the forces of evil, only to find that evil may be lurking within.
Writer/executive producer/star: Will Forte
Writer/director/executive producer: Jorma Taccone
Writer/executive producer: John Solomon
Executive producers: Lorne Michaels, John Goldwyn, Andrew Singer & Erin David (Broadway Video)
Studio: Universal Television