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NBC kicked off the final day of TCA with a slew of announcements, including new series pickups from the creators of 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation.
From Parks creator Mike Schur, A Good Place (working title) will center on a woman wrestling with what it means to be good. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt praised Schur — who is also exec producing Netflix’s Aziz Ansari comedy series — calling him “one of the most gifted comedy writers” in the business and noting that NBC loved the pitch so much the network bought it straight-to-series in the room. He said the series, like Parks did with Amy Poehler, will feature another “strong and very complicated lead female character.” The 13-episode series hails from Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment and Schur’s Fremulon. Schur will pen the series and exec produce alongside 3 Arts’ David Miner.
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Meanwhile, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock‘s untitled comedy pilot is another female-driven half-hour inspired by the life of 30 Rock collaborator Tracey Wigfield. The comedy is written by Wigfield (The Mindy Project) and centers on a mother-daughter relationship that is challenged when an overly involved New Jersey mom gets an internship at her daughter’s workplace, a cable news network. The pilot hails from Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment and Fey’s Little Stranger. Fey, Carlock, Wigfield and Miner exec produce.
For her part, Wigfield won an Emmy with Fey for writing 30 Rock‘s series finale. The new series comes as Fey and Carlock have found success with NBC-turned-Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The Ellie Kemper comedy was picked up straight to series at NBC before moving to the streaming service, where it became a critical and awards-season darling.
Both comedies hail from Universal Television, where Schur, Fey and Carlock are all under overall deals.
The deals come after NBC has admittedly struggled with comedies in recent seasons. The network’s current scripted comedy roster includes the all-live edition of Undateable — its longest-running half-hour — rookies Mr. Robinson and The Carmichael Show (both airing this summer); midseason freshman Coach, Crowded, Hot & Bothered, Superstore and Truth Be Told, the latter of which is its lone first-year fall debut.
Straight-to-series pickups have become increasingly common as broadcasters, cablers and streaming services compete for original scripted fare in a crowded landscape with more than 400 series on the air.
Additionally, NBC also picked up pilots from writer Kassia Miller (Imaginary Friend) as well as duo Adriano Valentini and Aaron Colom (Sunset PPL), who were named winners of its first NBC Playground comedy initiative. Here are details on both:
Miller’s Imaginary Friend is a comedy about an intelligent yet unmotivated woman who discovers a special and unexpected way of dealing with her mediocre life. Originally from Virginia, Miller is a writer and actor in New York City.
Colom and Valentini’s Sunset PPL is a comedy about a group of millennial friends who struggle with their own made-up rules for personal and professional success. Colom and Valentini have collaborated on numerous short films and web series. They are based in Los Angeles.
Aug 13, 10:27 a.m. The Fey-Carlock comedy has received a pilot-production order, but Greenblatt referred to the project as a new series. Sources indicate an official series pickup is all but a formality.
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