This Week in TV:
CBS orders Bad Teacher to series; Ang Lee drops out of the Tyrant pilot; Billy Crystal lands a starring role in a pilot at FX called The Comedians; we learn that the Ricky Gervais-developed series Derek will premiere on Netflix this September; and get the details on ABC's new app, which allows viewers to stream live TV through their computers and mobile devices.
Apparently, Bad Teacher's pilot did enough to impress network execs, instilling confidence that the Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg-written comedy can work as a TV series. Stupnitsky and Eisenberg will produce the show, which stars Ari Graynor (For a Good Time, Call...) in the lead role made memorable by Cameron Diaz in the film. David Allen Grier (Peeples) is also set to co-star in an unknown role.
Diaz's star power was a big reason why the film attracted an audience, so it will be interesting to see if the show can do the same with the lesser-known Graynor, especially considering that almost everything else - including the story - will remain the same. Like the film, the series will tell the tale of an unapologetic, often inappropriate former trophy wife who poses as a school teacher to find another wealthy husband in order to sustain her luxurious lifestyle.
There is no set air date for Bad Teacher, but as part of CBS's 2013-2014 lineup, we can expect to see it sometime this fall.
Though he has still never worked in television, the three-time Oscar-winner had agreed to direct his first TV pilot after he fell in love with the script for Tyrant. However, after looking at some scouting locations for the project, he realized that he didn't have the energy necessary to put his all into it. Here's what Lee said in a statement regarding his departure from the pilot:
"It is with disappointment that I must confirm I have withdrawn from my commitment to direct the upcoming FX pilot Tyrant. It is one of the most brilliant ideas for a series that I’ve seen and one about which I was very excited. However, after spending over four years making and promoting Life Of Pi, I have recently realized that I need some rest . Because I cannot give 100% to this exciting project at this time, I cannot allow myself to do anything that may affect the potential for this exciting new series. I wish FOX 21 and FX the best with this remarkable project."
Even with Lee's exit, production is still expected to move forward once the project secures a new director. Created by Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, Tyrant still has a big commitment from the network and barring a catastrophe, is expected to be ordered to series.
Details on Tyrant are scarce, but we do know the story involves an unassuming American family who gets drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Based on Lee's reaction to the pilot script, Gordon and Raff's involvement and FX's financial commitment, we can add Tyrant to our list of television projects to keep an eye on.
Production on Tyrant should begin later this year.
Legendary comic, actor and Oscar host Billy Crystal has landed a new gig starring in a pilot for FX titled The Comedians.
Crystal will play a superstar comedian (not a huge stretch) who gets paired with a younger, edgier comic for a late-night comedy sketch show. Crystal will also serve as a writer and executive producer, along with Larry Charles (Seinfeld), Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and Ben Wexler (Community).
Though we don't know a whole lot about the project yet, based on the names attached so far, we can expect some sarcastic, sardonic and hopefully smart humor that could add to FX's already sterling reputation for comedy programs (Louie, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Archer).
We'll pass along more info on The Comedians as it becomes available.
Source: TV Line
After being picked up for its second season in the U.K., the Ricky Gervais comedy Derek will be available to U.S. audiences via Netflix's streaming service this fall.
Despite generating some controversy across the pond for its learning-disabled central character, Derek has received a mostly positive response from audiences and critics. The show, which Gervais writes, directs and stars in as Derek, will premiere its entire first season, which consists of seven 30-minute episodes, at once at 12:01 a.m. PT on September 21. In case you are unfamiliar with the program, here's an official synopsis:
A bittersweet comedy-drama about a group of outsiders living on society’s margins, Derek centers around Derek Noakes (Gervais), a tender, innocent man whose love for his job at a retirement home shines through. Derek cares deeply for the home’s residents, because they are kind and funny and tell him stories of what life used to be like. Working alongside Derek is Dougie, his landlord who is one of life’s unlucky individuals; Kev, a loveable train wreck; and Hannah, a care worker in the home and Derek’s best friend. She is smart, witty and hard-working, but unlucky in love, and, like Derek, always puts other people first.
Like The Office, Derek is based on the premise of a documentary film crew recording the show's events, which are presented in a mockumentary style. Whether Derek achieves the same kind of success The Office has on both sides of the Atlantic remains to be seen.
Check out Derek when it premieres on Netflix on September 12, 2013.
Earlier this month, ABC became the first television network to introduce an app allowing viewers to stream live TV and on-demand programming through computers and mobile devices.
On May 14, the Watch ABC app became available for viewers in New York and Philadelphia, but the network plans to expand the service to its affiliates in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Raleigh-Durham and Fresno this summer. The network has also made a deal with Hearst Television to offer the service through Hearst’s 13 ABC stations.
The app is currently available for a free trial period in the New York and Philly markets until the end of June, when it will then only be available to local paying customers of a cable or satellite provider.
It will be interesting to see how popular the app becomes and if it changes how viewers get their content. If it does become a hit, we can expect other networks to follow suit.