ABC is making a push to reinvigorate its lineup – and the network just acquired a whole lot of back up.
Pilots for comedies Other People’s Kids, Work It and Lost and Found have all been picked up for the chance at a series – while Pan Am and the proposed summer drama Missing aim to bolster the more dramatic side of things.
No, ABC is not getting into the babysitting business by picking up Other People’s Kids. The comedy follows a single man as he ventures into the unknown, leaving behind his utter lack of responsibility for the pleasure of dating an older woman with kids. This instant family concept, replete with ex-in-laws and an ex-husband, sounds like one half of an ultra-modern Brady Bunch re-launch. However, it is more akin to what ABC has excelled at lately – producing family comedies that are actually funny. Riding the coattails of Modern Family and The Middle is nothing to be ashamed of, as both have found success with viewers and critical acclaim.
While those series have worked well as single-camera comedies, ABC is looking at Other People’s Kids to bring them back to a time when Full House and Growing Pains made us think TGIF stood for Thank Goodness It’s Funny. If what the recent slate of sitcom orders suggest, then new chief of programming Paul Lee just might be bringing TGIF back. He’s grabbed other multi-camera sitcom pilots like Lost and Found and Work It to support his potential comedy lineup.
Work It – or Bosom Buddies in a horrible economy – centers on two recently unemployed car salesmen who dress up as women to become pharmaceutical reps. In addition to making them appreciate their masculinity, their cross-dressing has the effect of making them better men, husbands and fathers, according to writing and executive producing pair, Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen (Friends).
Finally, Lost and Found, written by actress Marissa Coughlan (Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Super Troopers), centers on a New York City bartender and party girl that gets her life shaken and stirred when the now conservative son she gave up for adoption 18-years ago seeks out his birth mother. Coughlan will act as supervising producer on the show.
In terms of drama, it took three seasons and an armload of awards from AMC’s Mad Men before other networks decided period dramas were worth a spot in their schedules. NBC has Playboy and ABC is adding Pan Am. Set in the swinging ‘60s, Pan Am takes what is sure to be a machismo fueled look at political incorrectness and gender roles surrounding the titular airline’s pilots and flight attendants. Jack Orman (ER) wrote the script for the pilot and Thomas Schlamme (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, So I Married and Axe Murderer) has been lined up to direct.
Rounding out ABC’s recent acquisitions is Missing, a drama that reads like Taken meets Not Without My Daughter. Written by Greg Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets), Missing follows a mother traveling across Europe in search of her son who went missing in Italy while on a summer internship. Thankfully for the son, this is no ordinary soccer mom, but rather a former CIA agent who will not rest until she uncovers the mystery of her son’s disappearance and returns home with the little bugger in tow.
If you add Poe, that’s six new programs announced by ABC in one week, not a paltry sum by any means. While, Pan Am could prove brilliant, it could also come off as too much like its progenitor and just leave people snickering at its lack of originality. All in all, it sounds like Missing, with the right female lead, might be the perfect blend of action and mystery to help add some flair to the summer doldrums and be a real hit for ABC. We’ll keep you informed if any of these pilots are picked up as series and if Other People’s Kids, Work It or Lost and Found make it to a new TGIF.