Tina Fey's New Show Moves From NBC to Netflix

Tina Fey Robert Carlock Ellie Kemper Split - H 2013
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Tina Fey Robert Carlock Ellie Kemper Split - H 2013

NBC's Tina Fey-produced comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is making a major move.

The comedy will now move from NBC to Netflix, where the Ellie Kemper series has preemptively been renewed for a second season, the streaming service announced Friday. The comedy will debut in March 2015.

From Universal Television and 30 Rock exec producers Fey and Robert Carlock, NBC picked up the comedy about a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York straight to series following a multiple-network bidding war. NBC picked up 13 episodes and announced the comedy would premiere in the fall. The series, however, was left off the network's fall slate and never received a time slot.

"When the opportunity arose for Tina Fey and Robert Carlock to premiere their new show on Netflix with a two-season commitment, we decided this was the best possible scenario to launch this captivating new series," NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said. "While it was originally developed for NBC, we have a very drama-heavy midseason schedule so we're thrilled about this Netflix opportunity; it’s an instant win-win for everyone, including Tina, Robert and Universal Television. We’re already talking to these extraordinary creators about new development for NBC, but meanwhile, everyone here from Universal Television will do everything possible to see that Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt becomes a long-running hit on Netflix."

The half-hour series is being produced by Little Stranger, Universal Television, where Fey is under a rich, four-year overall deal, as well as 3 Arts Entertainment and Bevel Gears. Fey and Carlock, who co-wrote the spec script, will write, executive produce and co-run the series. 3 Arts’ David Miner, Fey’s longtime manager, will join the pair as an executive producer alongside Jeff Richmond, Jack Burditt (30 Rock). Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess, Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Sol Miranda and Carol Kane co-star.

For Netflix, Kimmy joins a rapidly growing roster of original comedies including Judd Apatow's two-season comedy Love, Orange Is the New Black, Grace and Frankie as well as animated entry BoJack Horseman and the potential return of Arrested Development as the streamer continues to push into the genre.

For NBC, meanwhile, Kimmy marks its second midseason comedy that has been removed from its roster. The network also canceled Krysten Ritter space comedy Mission Control before its premiere. Its midseason bench also includes the final season of veteran half-hour Parks and Recreation, Ellen DeGeneres-produced lesbian comedy One Big Happy and Craig Robinson's Mr. Robinson. Unscheduled dramas include mini The Slap, Allegiance, Odyssey and potentially Aquarius. Freshman State of Affairs also had a late launch in early November.

The move also comes as broadcast networks have struggled to launch a break-out comedy this season. Beyond ABC's Blackish, no rookie comedy has been picked up for a full season with a back-nine order. (NBC's Marry Me received a limited five-episode pickup.)

For her part, Fey also has a comedy starring Fortune Feimster set up at ABC with Hubbard and Carlock also attached to exec produce. The 30 Rock alums also came close to earning a series order at Fox for its straight-to-series comedy Cabot College.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to debut Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt exclusively on Netflix, which has proven to be such an outstanding place for distinctive, original programming," Fey and Carlock said."Happily, we will still collaborate with our longtime partners at Universal Television to fulfill Netflix's two-season order. We grew up at NBC and will continue to develop broadcast projects with them as well. We found the inspiration for this series in Ellie Kemper's shining all-American face, and we know that she and Kimmy Schmidt have found their best possible home at Netflix."

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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