NBC promises it’s not abandoning comedy, and tried to prove that point through a bunch of news on Thursday.
The network has ordered a new comedy series from Mike Schur, as well as a new pilot from “30 Rock” collaborators Tina Fey, Robert Carlock and Tracey Wigfield. Also during Thursday’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour executive session, Entertainment boss Bob Greenblatt revealed the results from his crowd-sourced comedy scouting program, “The NBC Playground.”
First, Schur’s show — which will be produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment and Fremulon — landed a 13-episode order from the network. In addition to executive producing this new series with David Miner, Schur (“Parks and Recreation”) also exec produces “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix series “Master of None.”
“For seven seasons, Mike Schur brought us the wonderful citizens of Pawnee, and we can’t wait to see the new group of indelible characters that he’ll now introduce,” said Jennifer Salke, president, NBC Entertainment. “He came in recently and pitched the entire first season, and we loved it so much we ordered it to production. Mike prefers to keep details under wraps while he meets actors and actresses, but I can tell you that the man who brought Amy Poehler to primetime is bringing us another funny, strong and particularly complicated female character — yes, the lead is a woman — in a comedy like nothing seen before, about a woman wrestling with what it means to be good. We’re very excited about this show!”
The Fey-Carlock-Wigfield pilot centers on a mother-daughter relationship that is challenged when an overly involved New Jersey mom gets an internship at her daughter’s workplace, a cable news network.
Fey and Carlock were writers and producers on NBC’s “30 Rock,” which Wigfield helped pen. Wigfield is also a writer and producer on “The Mindy Project,” which recently moved from Fox to Hulu. Fey and Carlock are currently enjoying critical love for their “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” which was originally intended for NBC but landed at Netflix.
“Tina and Robert are two of the pre-eminent voices in comedy, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that they’re bringing their next project to NBC,” said Salke. “We also adore Tracey, who has written some brilliant episodes of both ’30 Rock’ and ‘The Mindy Project.’ With this super-talented trio at the helm, we’re eagerly looking forward to their next great show.”
The project will be produced by Universal Television, 3 Arts Entertainment and Little Stranger. Fey, Carlock, Wigfield and Miner are executive producers.
Finally, NBC Entertainment will produce two original pilots that came out of its crowd-sourced comedy scouting “Playground” initiative, which received more than 2,100 submissions.
From Kassia Miller, “Imaginary Friend” is a comedy about an intelligent yet unmotivated woman who discovers a special and unexpected way of dealing with her mediocre life. From Aaron Colom and Adriano Valentini, “Sunset PPL” is a comedy about a group of millennial friends who struggle with their own made-up rules for personal and professional success.
“NBC is excited to bring these innovative new works from such fresh comedic talents to the television audience,” said Salke, who conceived the idea of “NBC Playground.” “The first cycle was a tremendous success and the originality of the ideas and diversity of the new voices that were elicited through this initiative were truly inspiring. We could not have succeeded in finding such an incredible group of aspiring writers had we not had the help of an awesome Advisory Board — a real A-list group of comedy producers, writers and performers who were as eager as we were to find the next comedy superstars.”
Plus, one of the following entrants will become a digital show, based on which gets the most online votes:
– “Bobby & Izo” by Avery Lee & Bobby Richards
– “Stunted” by Jeff Galante
– “Wolfgirl” by Melissa Hunter
– “Broker” by Tyler Hall
– “The Bar Mitzvah Club” by Daniel Poliner
Aziz Ansari, Jason Bateman, Robert Carlock, Sean Hayes, Mindy Kaling, Jason Katims, Josh Lieb, Eva Longoria, Adam McKay, Seth Meyers, Todd Milliner, Will Packer, Amy Poehler, Craig Robinson, Maya Rudolph, Schur, Adam Scott and Mike Shoemaker helped choose the aforementioned “Playground” winners.