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CBS is making an immediate fix to its lack of diversity.
The network has handed out a series order to redeveloped comedy Superior Donuts, starring comedian Jermaine Fowler, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The multicamera comedy was picked up to pilot and shot this past development season. After narrowly missing a series pickup in May, CBS opted to reshoot (and recast) the pilot and has now handed out a 13-episode order for the project that is based on the play by Tracy Letts.
The comedy follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop (Judd Hirsch, who replaced Brian d’Arcy James), his new young employee (played by Fowler) and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago. The cast also includes David Koechner, Maz Jobrani, Anna Baryshnikov, Darien Sills-Evans, Rell Battle and Katey Sagal. Of the original pilot cast, only Fowler, Jobrani and Koechner returned.
“This show has been very high on our radar since we first put it into development last winter,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said Wednesday in a statement. “Jermaine Fowler is a rising young star, Judd Hirsch is a comedy legend and the entire cast is full of great comedic talent. We’re very excited to expand our comedy lineup with Superior Donuts.”
The comedy is being produced in-house by CBS Television Studios and expands CBS’ relationship with Bob Daily, showrunner on The Odd Couple. Exec producers include Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Mark Teitelbaum, John Montgomery, Michael Rotenberg, Josh Lieberman and Fowler. James Burrows directed the pilot.
For CBS, the news comes as the network has been heavily criticized for its lack of diversity. Of CBS’ eight new series for 2016-17, few feature diverse leading stars. Its entire comedy lineup is fronted by white men: Kevin James in Kevin Can Wait; Joel McHale in The Great Indoors and Matt LeBlanc in Man With a Plan.
The series pickup comes days after the return of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, which featured Hirsch and Sagal playing parents to Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco), respectively.
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