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CBS comedy United States of Al had filmed an episode and a half of its second season when the United States began pulling its last remaining troops and diplomatic personnel out of Afghanistan. As the Taliban took control of the country, the show’s writers completely reworked their opening episode.
“We guessed wrong and had to adjust our plans” when Kabul fell to the Taliban, co-creator and showrunner Maria Ferrari said Tuesday during Warner Bros. TV’s time at the Television Critics Association press tour. The show, which centers on the friendship between a Marine veteran (Parker Young) and his unit’s interpreter (Adhir Kalyan), who has made a new home in Ohio, will focus its premiere on how the characters react to the situation.
“We chose to tell the story of what we were experiencing,” Ferrari said of the writing staff, which includes five Afghans and seven military veterans — and, as writer Chase Millsap detailed in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, worked together to get as many Afghans out of the country as they could as U.S. forces withdrew.
Ferrari, who created the series with David Goetsch, said she and her fellow producers also asked CBS to pull repeats of United States of Al from the late summer schedule, as the tone of some episodes wasn’t a match for the real-life events unfolding. “A story about Al [Kalyan] getting a dog was fine for February, but it’s not fine for now,” she said.
United States of Al begins its second season Oct. 7 on CBS.
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