After beginning his career as a stand-up comedian, Robin Williams’ guest appearance as the alien Mork from Ork on the classic TV series Happy Days led to the creation of another TV favorite in the form of the series Mork & Mindy, which Williams starred in.
It has been 30 years since the latter series came to an end, and now it sounds like the funnyman is ready to return to television full time.
Deadline has word that Williams is currently looking at starring in a new workplace comedy series on CBS from Ally McBeal and The Practice creator David E. Kelley, who launched his career at the same network with the drama series Picket Fences.
The untitled potential series would be set in the world of advertising with Robin Williams playing a top-notch advertising executive at a company where his daughter also works. Sounds like it could be a contemporary look at the funny side of advertising – in other words, the complete opposite of Mad Men.
Kelley recently found himself without a series again after Harry’s Law was canceled by NBC (in addition to his failed Wonder Woman pilot), but he kept busy by writing this new show on his own before shopping it around to networks. He’ll also produce the series, which will be Kelley’s first time crafting a half-hour program since Doogie Howser, M.D. Kelley also has another medical drama called Monday Mornings coming to TNT sometime next year.
Williams – who usually reserves his acting talents for films – has taken a few great guest spots on TV lately, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Wilfred and Louie. If the show gets a series order, this would likely leave Williams out of films for a good chunk of the year. Taking a TV series like this used to be a sign of a fading career, but nowadays the content on TV, especially on cable, has changed that perception a bit.
The prospect of Williams returning to television is an interesting one, especially in a comedy capacity. Since the show is a single-camera comedy, I’m hoping that it will be less of a generic sitcom that will dispatch with the laugh track and other embarrassing remnants from the bygone days of TV. However, since this is on CBS, I won’t hold my breath. Even their most popular shows like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly haven’t dispatched with live audience laughter, and at times, it really takes away from writing good enough to illicit laughs without prompt.
The project is likely being developed for next fall’s TV season, so stay tuned for more.