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NBC’s loss is Netflix’s gain (again).
The streaming giant, which recently revived NBC castoff Manifest, has picked up another passed-over project from the broadcast network. Netflix has handed out a straight-to-series order for Blockbuster, a workplace comedy from writer Vanessa Ramos with Randall Park set to star.
The ensemble comedy takes place at the last Blockbuster Video in America, with the 10-episode series exploring what it takes — and who it takes — for a small business to succeed against all odds.
Ramos, whose credits also include NBC’s Superstore and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, created the series and will pen scripts alongside David Caspe (Happy Endings, Black Monday) and Jackie Clarke (Happy Endings, Superstore). All three exec produce alongside Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox. The series hails from Universal Television, where Ramos, Caspe and Davis Entertainment are all housed with respective overall deals.
The project, which has been in the works since earlier this year when NBC, marks a reunion for Netflix comedy head Tracey Pakosta with nearly all involved. Pakosta previously served as co-head of scripted at NBC, where she helped develop shows including Superstore and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, while working with Caspe since his arrival at Universal TV.
“To say getting to make a show about a place I love, with my friends Jackie and David, and Randall Park as our star is a dream come true, somehow feels like an understatement,” Ramos said in a statement Wednesday. “I could not be more grateful to Jim [Donnelly] and Megan [Macmillan] at Universal for supporting this project since day one and Tracey, Andy [Weil], and the whole team at Netflix for being on board with so many weird jokes.”
Added Pakosta: “When Vanessa and David first came in and shared this idea for a comedy series, we were immediately excited. This is ultimately the story of a dedicated group of co-workers, with a lot of heart. And now with the hilarious Randall Park signing on to play the lead, it’s a no brainer.”
After NBC ultimately passed on the script, Universal Television shopped the series and it landed at Netflix, which ultimately cast Park in the lead.
“We’re so happy to be strolling the aisles of a Blockbuster once again, with Vanessa, David and Jackie leading the way,” said Donnelly, exec vp comedy at Universal TV. “We’re also thrilled to be continuing our partnership with Netflix, where we never have to worry about late fees.”
Blockbuster joins a roster of Universal Television series at Netflix that also includes Never Have I Ever, Russian Doll, Manifest and the since concluded Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Netflix originals are overseen by Bela Bajaria, who previously served as president of Universal Television before moving to Netflix.
Park’s credits include ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, Disney+ series WandaVision and Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe, which he also co-wrote and produced. He’ll next be seen in Peacock’s True Story and Netflix’s Big Mouth spinoff, Human Resources. He’s repped by UTA, Artists First and Myman Greenspan.
Ramos is with UTA and 3 Arts.
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