This Week in TV:
The Simpsons is renewed for season 26; Will Forte (MacGruber) teams up with Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) for a comedy pilot at FOX; Kevin James signs a deal to star in an upcoming sitcom with a 10/90 production model; Michael Rapaport (Boston Public) is cast as a villain in Justified season 5; and Nathan Fillion joins Community season 5 as a guest star.
While viewership has tapered off in recent years, The Simpsons continues to survive, as FOX announced this week that the seminal animated series will return for its 26th season.
The renewal may be surprising to some - but considering Simpsons producers discussed the possibility for a Futurama crossover episode to act as the show's season 26 premiere at this year's Comic-Con, there were many that saw this news coming.
There's no telling how long The Simpsons will continue, but everyone behind the show seems determined to keep it alive - including network execs, who are especially proud of their flagship program. Said FOX president Kevin Reilly:
“For more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons has captured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcends ages, languages and cultures. This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it’s one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I’m looking forward to yet another landmark season.”
Tune in to season 26 of The Simpsons when it premieres in 2014. (If you still watch it at all.)
Source: FOX (via IGN)
FOX may be holding on tight to its longest-running show, but it's also on the hunt for new comedies and put in a pilot commitment this week for one called The Last Man on Earth from SNL alum Will Forte and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and and Chris Miller.
Forte is not currently attached to star, but is signed on to write and executive produce the show about two strangers who must set their differences aside and work together in order to save the human race. While Forte is known mostly as a performer, he has vast experience writing for TV. He actually started his career as a staff writer for The Late Show, 3rd Rock From The Sun and That ’70s Show before hitting it big on SNL.
Meanwhile, Lord and Miller have stayed busy in TV, as this latest project marks the second pilot commitment they've scored with FOX in the past week, with the other being the comedy Torched. However, it's unclear how involved they will be with either project, considering they just started production on the 21 Jump Street sequel, 22 Jump Street.
Still, with the comedic talent attached, The Last Man on Earth appears to have plenty of promise. We'll let you know if FOX agrees after it sees the pilot episode.
Comedian Kevin James is set to return to television after signing a deal with Lionsgate that will have him produce and star in a new untitled sitcom under the 10/90 production model.
After gaining fame on the long-running CBS sitcom The King of Queens, James had transitioned to film comedies in recent years, but will now be committed to at least 10 episodes of a new series under the deal. Other than it being a multi-camera sitcom, there are no available details on the new show, but whichever network picks it up will get 90 more episodes of the James-led series as long as the first 10 hit ratings targets.
Lionsgate has used the 10/90 model to sell several sitcoms to cable networks in the past few years, including Anger Management, Tyler Perry's House of Payne and the George Lopez-led show Saint George, which is currently in production of its initial 10 episodes at FX. So, there's a good chance it will find a home for this new project - especially when you consider James' star has risen over the years.
Since we know virtually nothing about what the James-vehicle will be, it's hard to guess if it will make it past 10 episodes, but the production company obviously thinks it has the most important piece to a successful show: its star, Kevin James. We'll just have to wait and see how the project develops and what other talent will climb on board.
Justified has found a new villain for Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) to tangle with in season 5 - and he'll be portrayed by character actor Michael Rapaport.
Rapaport will recur in the upcoming season as Dale Crowe Jr., the head of a Florida-based crime family and a relative of Dewey Crowe (Damon Herriman). Crowe Jr. is described as a smart, savvy, ruthless and charismatic leader, who also owns a gator farm.
Rapaport has appeared in more than 40 films over the course of his career, but is perhaps best known for his TV work, which includes notable roles in Boston Public and Friends.
We'll see just how much trouble Rapaport's character gives Raylan when Justified season 5 premieres in 2014.
Source: TV Line
Fillion is set to play Bob Waite, Greendale's politically savvy head custodian who's not afraid to get his hands dirty. It's unclear how many episodes Fillion's character will appear in, but he will contend with hall-roamers Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey - played by guest star Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad) - in at least one.
Fillion is best known for his roles in Castle and the cult show Firefly, but he's also a gifted comedic performer and reported huge fan of Community. Hopefully his love for the show will make his appearance all the more enjoyable for viewers.
Community season 5 will premiere in 2014.