Having ended its run nearly 35 years ago, The Bob Newhart Show is about to see a spike in Google searches thanks to FOX ordering a script for Bob’s New Heart Show, a single camera medical comedy from former Community and The Good Guys writer Ben Wexler and Conan O’Brien’s production company, Conaco.
While the wordplay of that title will certainly make fans of mid-to-late ’70s sitcoms sit up and take notice, there’s a good chance it could wind up sailing over the heads of younger audience members – in which case, they can always just interpret it as a straightforward description (and from the show’s synopsis, that doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch).
Whereas The Bob Newhart Show starred Bob Newhart as Dr. Bob Hartley, Bob’s New Heart Show concerns a doctor named Bob who, after undergoing a literal and figurative change of heart, moves back to his “working-class” hometown to take over a small family practice. Presumably, this is where high jinks will ensue.
Of course, the show is in the very early stages of development, so there’s no word yet on possible casting or any further expansion of what the series might entail, but we do know that Wexler would serve as writer and executive producer while Conan, along with David Kissinger and Jeff Ross, would be on board as producers. The real question, however, is just how well another medical program will perform over at FOX.
In addition to House ending its run last year, this current television season has seen the cancellations of freshman series like Animal Practice, Emily Owens, M.D. and FOX’s own The Mob Doctor. And while it seems television has been a tough place for fictional medical professionals recently, FOX still has The Mindy Project in its line-up. Thus far, Mindy Kaling’s post-Office effort has had decent ratings, and managed to secure a full-season order for its freshman season. But with FOX having fewer programming spots than most other networks, will there only be room for one medical comedy, should Bob’s New Heart Show be given a series order?
An answer to that question is not likely to happen for a while. In that case, The Mindy Project will have ample time to see its ratings suddenly skyrocket, or for television to experience a swift surge of interest in medical comedies, thereby securing the future of both Bob’s New Heart Show and Mindy Kaling’s sitcom and preventing any such speculation from becoming necessary.
Meanwhile, O’Brien has seen his television influence grow since heading over to TBS following The Tonight Show debacle with Jay Leno and NBC a few years ago. In addition to launching his talk show on the cable network, O’Brien and his co-host, Andy Richter, are scheduled to make an appearance on the upcoming fourth season of Arrested Development, while Conaco is setting up the ABC sitcom Super Fun Night, which was created by (and will star) Rebel Wilson of Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect fame.
Screen Rant will have more information on Bob’s New Heart Show as it’s made available.