Cheech Marin is aiming for another career "high" - pun intended - with a new half-hour pilot for Fox. The comedy, titled Outnumbered, has the actor of Cheech and Chong fame hoping for a better outcome than his last Fox comedy, The Ortegas, which was pulled by the network before getting the chance to crawl, let alone fly. Marin's last steady role in a sitcom dates back to the 1993 show The Golden Palace, a spin-off of The Golden Girls that also proved an early vehicle for Don Cheadle.
Marin's most successful television project to date has been Nash Bridges, which spanned six seasons on CBS from 1996 to 2001. The 64-year-old actor was most recently seen on ABC's Lost and in Robert Rodriguez's Machete.
Outnumbered is based on the lives and familial shenanigans common to Sue and Pete (Ana Ortiz, Cliff Chamberlain), an ordinary couple routinely overwhelmed by their children, of which there are three (hence, Outnumbered is an appropriate title if not an inventive one). Marin will play Sue's father, a likely focal point of humor given the character's description as a prescription pill-popper fond of child-rearing methods that involve the occasional "swat."
The comedy - and let's hope that's what it is - will be directed by Larry Charles (Seinfeld, Mad About You), a man for whom sitcom success has not been as elusive.
Outnumbered was inspired by the BBC sitcom of the same name. Marin's 2003 failed sitcom attempt known as The Ortegas was similarly based on a British original called The Kumars at No. 42. Marin is said to be fond of British humor and often looks for opportunities to Americanize programming concepts that play well across the pond.
Of course, what plays well in the UK doesn't necessarily translate into a sure-fire winner in the U.S. - especially when Fox is involved in the production. Critics of the network are quick to point out that since Arrested Development was pulled from the air, only to become an even bigger cult classic in syndication and on DVD, Fox has habitually dropped the ball on comedy and continues struggling to produce a consistently funny, watchable sitcom.
If all things go as planned, expect to see Outnumbered next fall, on Fox.