These past few years have been incredibly rough on NBC. Ever since the late night war of 2010, which left the network’s primetime line-up in complete disarray, NBC has been struggling to regain the confidence of the viewers it lost. And from the looks of this year’s comedy pilot orders, it appears that the network may be pulling out the big guns to do just that.
With 8 comedy pilot orders in total, NBC is attempting to further develop their already successful primetime comedy block by securing potential new series from some of the entertainment industry’s heavy hitters, including The Office (US) producer Greg Daniels, The Hangover Part II writer Scot Armstrong, Community producer Hilary Winston, Weeds producer Stephen Falk, Late Night‘s Jimmy Fallon, two separate series from Friends producers Dana Klein and Scott Silveri, as well the “domestic goddess” herself, Roseanne Barr.
If picked up, Barr’s sitcom, entitled Downwardly Mobile, would mark the highly-anticipated full-time return of one of TV’s greatest to network television. While possibly attempting to replicate the success that ABC has had with Tim Allen’s new series Last Man Standing, there’s no doubt that NBC’s decision to order a pilot from Barr comes from some hard-learned televisual hindsight.
When Roseanne Barr and Matt Williams were developing Roseanne in the late 80s, they had originally approached NBC with the idea, in hopes of following in the footsteps of The Cosby Show. Unfortunately, NBC decided to pass on the series, which ABC eventually picked up. As Roseanne quickly became the number one show on television (averaging 18 million viewers per episode during its entire 9-year run), ABC soon bested NBC as the most watched network on television – a title that stuck for many (many) years.
In regards to NBC’s pilot orders: The following descriptions are hardly enough to determine the potential success of these new shows. That being said, if you combine the synopses with the knowledge of who’s involved, and what they could bring to the project, there is more than one standout series in the bunch – and Barr’s Downwardly Mobile is definitely one of them.
Which series would you like to see on television?
You can take a look at all of NBC’s comedy pilot orders below:
From: Scot Armstrong (The Hangover Part II)
Plot: A House-like veterinarian who loves the animals but hates their owners.
Who else is involved: Brian Gatewood (The Sitter), Alex Tanaka (The Sitter), Ravi Nandan (Best Friends Forever)
From: Dana Klein (Friends)
Plot: A young woman returns home from overseas to find out that her father is dating the mean girl from her high school.
From: Roseanne Barr (Roseanne, The Jackie Thomas Show)
Plot: Roseanne stars as the proprietor of a mobile home park and surrogate mother to all the characters who live there.
Who else is involved: Roseanne, Eric Gilliland (Roseanne, Mr. Sunshine), John Argent (Roseanne’s Nuts)
Friday Night Dinner (based on the UK series)
From: Greg Daniels (The Office)
Plot: A quirky family that has dinner every Friday night.
Who else is involved: Howard Klein (Friday Night Dinner (UK))
From: Scott Silveri (Friends)
Plot: An irreverent yet charming sportcaster tries to move on from a loss by finding solace in mandatory group therapy
Next Caller Please
From: Stephen Falk (Weeds)
Plot: A gender comedy focusing on a brash, alpha male DJ and his new plucky, feminist co-host.
Untitled Jimmy Fallon project
From: Jimmy Fallon (Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon)
Plot: Three thirtysomething guys who enjoy the adventures of parenting even though they haven’t grown up themselves.
Who else is involved: Amy Ozols (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Charlie Grandy (The Office, Saturday Night Live)
Untitled Hilary Winston project
From: Hilary Winston (Community, Happy Endings)
Plot: A shy, focused woman who was just dumped by her fiancé. Her co-workers will not only help her come out of her shell, but also to plot her revenge.
Who else is involved: Jamie Tarses (Hawthorne, Happy Endings)
Expect to hear which pilots receive a series order from NBC this May
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio