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CBS further solidified its 2016-17 broadcast schedule Friday, handing out five series orders for comedies and dramas with proven stars, formats and genres.
Ordered to series are Bull, starring Michael Weatherly; Jason Katims‘ medical drama Pure Genius; MacGyver; Training Day; Matt LeBlanc’s Man With a Plan; and Joel McHale’s The Great Indoors.
Bull features the return of departing NCIS star Weatherly, who won’t be away from the network and its sibling studio for too long. Weatherly, who ends his 13-season run on TV’s No. 1 drama this month, stars in Bull as Dr. Bull, a character inspired by Dr. Phil McGraw (yes, that one) as the series follows his early career as head of one of the most prolific trial consulting services of all time.
From House‘s Paul Attanasio, the CBS Television Studios drama is exec produced by McGraw and his Stage 29 Productions topper/son, Jay McGraw. Amblin’s Justin Falvey and Daryl Frank also exec produce the drama, co-starring Freddy Rodriguez, Christopher Jackson (Hamilton), Geneva Carr and Jaime Lee Kirchner.
Sources say Bull remained a lock to make it onto CBS’ 2016-17 schedule after Weatherly signed on, giving the network not only a marketable star but an opportunity to expand its relationship with McGraw, whose Dr. Phil has been the No. 1 daytime talk show since Oprah Winfrey’s retirement. McGraw’s latest deal takes the syndicated show from CBS Television Distribution through 2020.
Redeveloped from the 2015-16 pilot season, Katims Silicon Valley-set medical drama Pure Genius (formerly known as Bunker Hill) was said to be running neck-and-neck with rookie Code Black for a spot on CBS’ schedule. The drama marks a return to broadcast for Katims a year after NBC’s Parenthood ended its critically praised run. The drama about a young Silicon Valley tech titan (Augustus Prew) who enlists a veteran surgeon (Dermot Mulroney) with a controversial past in starting a hospital with a cutting-edge, “new school” approach to medicine is said to have tested extremely well.
Pure Genius gives producers Universal Television — where Katims‘ True Jack banner is based — a rare off-network sale at CBS, where the studio also had comedy The Kicker in the works this season. (The Tina Fey-produced football comedy starring Geoff Stults is moving forward.)
Odette Annable, Brenda Song, Reshma Shetty, Ward Horton and Aaron Jennings co-star in Pure Genius, which is exec produced by True Jack’s Michelle Lee and David Semel, the latter of whom directed the pilot. The drama gives Friday Night Lights grad Katims at least two series next season with the medical entry joining Hulu’s cult series The Path, which was renewed this month for a second season. Katims could see that number grow to four as Showtime is prepping a comedic anthology called Mating and HBO is readying romantic drama Us.
A reimagining of the television series of the same name, the new MacGyver follows a 20-something MacGyver (X-Men: Apocalypse‘s Lucas Till) as he gets recruited into a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening.
A high priority for CBS Television Studios — which produced the original — the drama was originally written by R. Scott Gemmill (NCIS: L.A.) but ultimately picked up to pilot with new writers Paul Downs Colaizzo (CBS pilot LFE from last season) and Brett Mahoney (Code Black) — though the network may be tossing out that script for a new one as the duo’s future with the series remains in question as Hawaii Five-0’s Peter Lenkov has boarded the drama. Henry Winkler, who executive produced the original series, is on board to serve in the same capacity alongside Michael Clear, head of production at James Wan’s Atomic Monster. Wan (Aquaman, Mortal Kombat, Saw) will exec produce and segue into TV with the project.
CBS originally had trouble casting the lead after ordering the pilot without a final script. David Von Ancken directed the pilot and exec produces alongside original MacGyver creator Lee Zlotoff.
CSI grad George Eads co-stars as there will be some changes to the secondary cast as Addison Timlin, Michelle Krusiec and Joshua Boone are unlikely to return.
The reboot comes as the network tried its hand at two film-to-TV projects — Rush Hour and Limitless — with neither expected to return for second seasons.
Training Day is described as a reimagining that begins 15 years after the 2001 film left off, the reboot centers on an idealistic young African-American police officer (Justin Cornwell) who is appointed to an elite squad of the LAPD where he is partnered with a seasoned, morally ambiguous detective (Bill Paxton in his broadcast series regular debut).
The drama is written by former LAPD detective Will Beall (Castle, Gangster Squad). Antoine Fuqua, who directed the feature film, executive produces the drama alongside Warner Bros. Television-based Jerry Bruckheimer TV’s Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and KristieAnne Reed. Fuqua’s Fuqua Films is also attached. Warner Bros. Pictures produced the original feature alongside Village Roadshow Pictures. Danny Cannon will also exec produce and directed the pilot. Katrina Law, Drew Van Acker, Lex Scott Davis and Julie Benz co-star. Sources stress that while not a co-production, CBS Television Studios has an ownership interest in the drama, a big deal given WBTV’s unwillingness to share in the financials.
Training Day is one of multiple film-to-TV reboots in the works this season, joining Lethal Weapon (Fox), Cruel Intentions (NBC) and Frequency (The CW). The pickup gives CBS another police drama reboot of a movie from WBTV after the pair teamed this season for Rush Hour, with the Bill Lawrence drama not expected to return after a lackluster midseason debut.
Man With a Plan (formerly I’m Not Your Friend) marks Friends alum Matt LeBlanc’s return to broadcast. The multicamera comedy centers on a contractor (LeBlanc) who learns that raising his kids is more challenging than expected when his wife goes back to work. The Office‘s Jenna Fischer was slated to co-star but has exited the project as it undergoes a different creative direction. Sources say the split was amicable.
From That ‘70s Show duo Jeff & Jackie Filgo and exec produced by LeBlanc and James Burrows, the latter of whom directed the pilot, the Friends grad had a hefty series commitment penalty attached to his deal. That means if CBS were to pass over on picking up the pilot to series, LeBlanc would have been paid for a series pickup.
The series pickup also affords CBS to reunite Joey and Chandler by scheduling I’m Not Your Friend with Matthew Perry’s The Odd Couple, the latter of which looks good for a season three renewal.
Multicamera comedy The Great Indoors centers on an adventure reporter (Joel McHale) who must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine. Insiders say the CBS Television Studios comedy from writer Mike Gibbons (Tosh.0) was a favorite of CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves, who is said to have strongly pursued McHale to topline one of the network’s pilots.
Keep up with all the renewals, cancellations and new series pickups with THR’s handy scorecard and follow the pilot crop status here. For full upfronts 2016 coverage, go to THR.com/upfronts.
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