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After reviving cult hit Community for a sixth season, Yahoo is in talks with Enlisted producers 20th Century Fox Television to revive Fox’s canceled military comedy. Sources tell THR that both sides have been working on a deal for more than a month, though there are still financial issues to work out before — and if — a deal is to be completed.
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One of the best-reviewed freshman shows of the year, Enlisted was buried on Fridays and moved from its November bow to January. A semi-autobiographical comedy from Kevin Biegel (Cougar Town) about three very different brothers (Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young) serving in the Rear Detachment unit, Enlisted averaged a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49, growing an impressive 71 percent with DVR to a 1.2 and 3 million total viewers. Fox canceled the series in May after one season, with the final four episodes pulled from the schedule and burned off in the summer.
With the fate of the series on the bubble, leads Stults and Young landed starring roles in CBS’ comedy pilot Cuz-Bros, which they took in second position to Enlisted. CBS passed on the comedy in May. Co-star Angelique Cabral also booked a comedy at NBC that didn’t move forward (Two to Go). Young and co-star Keith David, meanwhile, booked co-starring roles on DirecTV’s first original comedy, Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight.
Enlisted, a semi-autobiographical comedy from Biegel, has been embraced by members of the armed forces. Foreign Policy magazine dubbed the series the “best show on television [that] no one is watching.” The show often concludes with an end card paying tribute to a member of the military, with many reaching out to Biegel to share their own personal stories of PTSD and more.
For his part, Biegel, in a heartfelt letter to friends promoting June’s final episodes, wrote that they were the “best four episodes we did,” and noted that even the slightest bump could help the series live on. “I love the show and believe in this show too much to give up,” he wrote.” If we can get even a slightly decent rating we can show a new home that this show has a real fan base.”
Studio Fox 21 had been shopping Enlisted to other potential distributors. Mike Royce (Men of a Certain Age) also exec produced the series, which filmed in L.A.
Yahoo — which found shortform success in 2012 with The Bachelor spoof Burning Love — unveiled its first two longform projects at April’s Digital Content NewFronts in New York. The company is readying Other Space, from exec producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids); and Sin City Saints, from director Bryan Gordon (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and exec producer Mike Tollin (Smallville). The half-hour comedies, which both have eight-episode orders, build on Yahoo’s plan to create a hub for comedy content, which began in August with the announcement that it would develop eight shortform comedy series to complement its library of Saturday Night Live clips.
Following its Community renewal, Yahoo chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt, who has been leading the tech firm’s push into originals, told THR that the company is “passionate about giving a home to the best storytellers.” “We tend to be very open-minded to where those great stories come from,” she said. “Sometimes that will be from A-list writers, sometimes it’ll be from studios, sometimes it’ll be from those young nascent voices that you see doing incredible things elsewhere on the Internet, and sometimes it’ll be from brands.”
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