NBC will have a comedy brand to rebuild off of in the 2021-22 season.
With Superstore having already ended and veteran Brooklyn Nine-Nine set to close up shop next season, the broadcast network will return all three of its freshman comedies to the schedule after Young Rock and Kenan scored second-season renewals Friday.
“It has been a true joy to watch Dwayne Johnson and Kenan Thompson on NBC every week and see families connect with their relatable, entertaining and heartwarming stories,” said Lisa Katz, president of scripted programming at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “We’re thrilled to renew both of these shows for another season and can’t wait to see more from Dwayne, Kenan and the incredibly talented casts and producing teams behind each of them.”
Young Rock, picked up straight to series by NBC’s previous exec regime and based on Johnson’s formative years in Hawaii and featuring the global superstar in every episode, ranks as the No. 2 comedy of the season in the all-important adults 18-49 demographic. Nahnatchka Khan serves as showrunner on the single-camera comedy via her overall deal with producers Universal Television, where Johnson is also based with a rich pact of his own. Johnson, Jeff Chiang, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz and Jennifer Carreras also exec produce the comedy. Johnson, Joseph Lee Anderson, Stacey Leilua, Adrian Groulx, Bradley Constant, Uli Latukefu, Ana Tuisila, Fasitua Amosa and John Tui star.
Kenan, meanwhile, was a long time coming to the screen. The single-camera comedy about a widowed father of two (SNL’s Thompson) who moves in with his father-in-law (Don Johnson) was originally developed and picked up to series in 2019 after it was poised to join NBC’s schedule following the since-postponed summer 2020 Olympics. The pilot was recast and reshot, with Johnson and SNL’s Chris Redd joining David Caspe (Happy Endings) as showrunner on the comedy. The series, which ranks as NBC’s No. 4 digital comedy launch, is produced by Universal TV, where Caspe and Thompson are under overall deals, and Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video. Michaels, Caspe, Jackie Clarke, Thompson, Ken Whittingham and Andrew Singer exec produce; the cast also features Kimrie Lewis and Dani and Dannah Lane.
Kenan and Young Rock join previously picked-up Mr. Mayor on NBC’s 2021-22 schedule. The network for the first time in years is now a perfect 3-for-3 with all of its rookie comedies returning for next season. The trio of series will join comedies Grand Crew and American Auto on the network’s schedule next year. With Superstore having signed off earlier this season, NBC will next part ways with Brooklyn Nine-Nine, with the delayed eighth season wrapping with an abbreviated 10-episode order. The cop comedy from Dan Goor and Mike Schur will not air this season and instead be scheduled sometime during the 2021-22 season. The former Fox comedy will have run for three seasons on NBC.
Meanwhile, sophomore dramedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist — a co-production with Lionsgate TV and Universal TV — remains on the bubble. The Jane Levy-led series remains a critical darling but ratings-challenged, and NBCUniversal’s content group — led by Frances Berwick and Susan Rovner — needs to make renewal decisions in the coming weeks with upfronts around the corner.
NBC’s 2021-22 schedule will largely look the same as veterans The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Law & Order: SVU, New Amsterdam and This Is Us will all return. Joining Zoey’s on the bubble are dramas Good Girls, Manifest and rookies Law & Order: Organized Crime and Debris.
Keep track of all the new series pickups, renewals and cancellations with THR‘s handy scorecard.