After “Retaliation” (2006) became the highest charting comedy album in nearly three decades, Dane Cook became a pop-culture name. After releasing three more albums, performing in numerous sold-out tours and stand-up specials and starring in a string of (some successful, some not-so successful) films, Dane Cook arguably became the biggest comic on the planet.
However, since starring in My Best Friend’s Girl in 2008, Cook has cooled off considerably. In 2010, he auditioned to play Captain America in Captain America: The First Avenger, but failed to reach Joe Johnston’s short list for the part. Later that year, it was announced that Cook would star in a Broadway production of Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, but after encountering financial problems, the production was delayed and, to this day, the project has yet to take off.
After wondering what had happened to Cook during the last couple of years, his loyal legion of fans was thrilled to hear in May that NBC had ordered six episodes of a sitcom starring the comedian, called Next Caller. However, according to Deadline, even after the network filmed and produced four of the six episodes, it announced the show would not air, and NBC cancelled production.
Reportedly, the network was not pleased with the creative direction that the show was headed in. In the produced episodes, Cook played a character he’s pretty used to by now; a chauvinistic, foul-mouthed radio DJ at a local satellite station, who shares co-hosting duties with a feminist played by Collette Wolfe (Cougar Town). Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) and Ryan Devlin (Brothers and Sisters) were also on board to play the station boss and Cook’s enemy, respectively, in the Stephen Falk (Weeds) created and produced series.
Even though the series may have showed promise, NBC’s decision could have been based on the fact that the network already has a sitcom with a radio DJ character that is doing quite well: Go On with Matthew Perry. In fact, NBC picked up that series for a full season, along with The New Normal.
Unfortunately for Cook and his fans, this marks the third time that a starring-vehicle for the comedian was not picked up. He endured failed pilots in 2004 (Humor Me) and 2005 (Cooked) before he hit the big time as a stand-up act, but released the pilots on DVD in 2007 (The Lost Pilots).
Despite his recent string of bad luck, Cook still seems to have a large following that will continue to support him, and there’s little doubt that we will see more of him soon, in whatever medium or familiar role that may be.