Pilot season is upon us and all the little TV seedlings seem to have potential. Take NBC’s prospective comedy, Girlfriend in a Coma. The show has Liz Brixius on board as showrunner – a role she previously excelled at on Nurse Jackie – and it has an outstanding pedigree, coming from the pages of a Douglas Coupland novel of the same name.
Yes, everything was coming up aces for the show until its star – Christina Ricci – reportedly walked off the set after the first table read.
Ricci was set to play Karen, a 34-year-old woman who awakens from a coma to find out that she has a 17-year-old daughter (Miranda Cosgrove) that had been – up to that point – raised by her parents. The parents are set to be played by Daniel Stern (Home Alone) and Ann Cusack (Accepted).
Ricci was last seen regularly on ABC’s failed aviation period drama, Pan Am. Deadline gives no reason for her exit from Girlfriend in a Coma and there is, predictably, no word on who Brixius and executive producer Dick Wolf will line up to replace her; though one would imagine that the show’s future is in some danger.
This kind of thing happens regularly. In fact, the exact same thing happened last year with former How to Make it in America star Bryan Greenberg, who left CBS’ nameless Greg Berlanti/Greg Malins’ pilot right after the first table read in April 2012, because he didn’t like the tone of the show; for all we know, this could be something similar.
I haven’t read the source material, but from the book jacket and me literally judging a book by its cover, I can confidently say that Girlfriend in a Coma seems a bit darker than your average network sitcom, as it deals with Karen’s sudden awakening but also the sad state of things while she’s gone.
Ricci plays darkly comedic quite well, so her selection made sense, but her exit doesn’t. I suppose if the show makes it to air with a cheerier premise, things might become a little clearer.
We’ll keep an eye out for any more info about Girlfriend in a Coma and their quest for a new star.