2010 ABC PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT GUIDE – COMEDY SERIES
AWKWARD SITUATIONS FOR MEN
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to fit into a new place? For a transplanted Brit, assimilating into San Francisco society is an agonizingly awkward exercise in futility. No matter how hard he tries to fit in, Danny Wallace just sticks out.
When social graces are completely foreign to you, how are you supposed to fit in to a foreign land? Danny is a columnist who moves from England to San Francisco for his American wife Meg’s new job. Despite Danny’s best efforts to grasp the differences between the two cultures, he somehow always manages to cause a scene. From embarrassing first impressions to jaw-dropping misunderstandings, Danny’s never met a social situation he couldn’t bungle. As Meg settles in to her new job working with her boss, and former lover, Bob (aka “The Smoothie King”), Danny hangs out at his local British pub with Will, a misguided travel writer who Googles instead of going places. Their friend, Brian, the bartender at the pub, dispenses bone-headed advice along with the beer. At least Danny’s comic misadventures provide plenty of fodder for his popular column. If people aren’t laughing with you, might as well let them laugh at you.
Inspired by his book Awkward Situations For Men, British sensation Danny Wallace co-writes and co-executive produces along with Jeff and Jackie Filgo (That 70’s Show). It’s a wry observational comedy that highlights the absurd minutia of day-to-day life.
Danny Wallace: Danny Wallace
Laura Prepon: Meg Wallace
Tony Hale: Will MacDonald
Matt Letscher: Bob
Michael Braun: Kevin
Production Company: Warner Bros. Television
Executive Producers/Writers: Jeff Filgo, Jackie Filgo
Executive Producers: David Heyman, Tiffany Daniel
Director: Andy Ackerman
Ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors in D.C.? Get a closer look at the private lives of public people in this uncensored new comedy. When three young, newly-elected members of Congress decide to share a house together, we’ll see both their public maneuvering and their behind-the-scenes personal relationships.
Meet Cameron, Vince and Jane, three freshman Representatives who decide to pool both their financial and political resources when they share a house in D.C. Cameron is optimistic and determined, Vince is opportunistic and charming, and Jane, is beautiful and brilliant, but a little romantically clueless. As these newbies try to learn their way around the hill, they inevitably run into professional challenges, personal entanglements and public humiliations. After all, if they screw up, the snarky blog ‘Fools on the Hill’ is there to document it for the whole wide web. It’s their first year in D.C., so these three young Representatives will definitely make a few mistakes, but hopefully they will learn a thing or two along the way. Luckily, they’ve formed their own little ways and means committee for negotiating life on the hill.
Executive producer Arianna Huffington lends her experience and pointed political-insider wit to this comedy that is part West Wing, part Grey’s Anatomy. Experience both the private and public lives of politicians when creator Greg Malins (How I Met Your Mother) pulls back the curtain on America’s elected officials.
Sarah Chalke: Jane
Tommy Dewey: Cameron
Suzy Nakamura: Lenny
Ben Lawson: Vince
Taran Killam: Adam
Production Company: 20th Century Fox Television
Executive Producer/Writer: Greg Malins
Executive Producers: Arianna Huffington, Roy Sekoff
Director: Pam Fryman
FUNNY IN FARSI
Funny is the universal language. Based on Firoozeh Dumas’ best-selling novel, Funny in Farsi is a love letter to America that follows an Iranian family’s hilarious attempts to assimilate into the tanned, blond world of early ’70s Newport Beach, California.
As if being 13 isn’t hard enough, Firoozeh (Fur-ooze-ah) or Julie, as they call her in America has to deal with growing pains and culture shock all at the same time. Fresh from Iran (a place none of their neighbors can find on a map), her family learns everything they need to know about America from TV. Julie’s Dad “Kaz” loves his adopted home, especially Denny’s, where the bathrooms are always magically clean. Her mother has a harder time adjusting, although it helps when she switches her Americanized name from “Nazi” to “Nancy.” Julie’s older brother, “Chip” idolizes American sports stars. As for Julie… well, let’s just say she’s embracing capitalism for all it’s worth. The Jazayeri family tries to keep up with the Jones’ next door, but can they have their shish kabobs and their Kentucky Fried Chicken too? It’s a challenge to maintain your cultural identity while adapting to a whole new world of an unfamiliar language, liberated women and LOTS of television.
The nostalgia of The Wonder Years blends with the family fun of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in this exuberant coming-of-age-misfit-comedy. Barry Sonnenfeld directs the pilot co-written and executive produced by Nastaran Dibai (Rita Rocks) and Jeffrey Hodes (According to Jim). Funny in Farsi shows that it’s okay to be different as long as you can laugh at what gets lost in translation.
Maz Jobrani: Kaz
Marjan Neshat: Nancy
Hrach Titizian: Uncle Mo
Kendra Jain: Julie
David Gore: Chip
Sarah Shahi: Adult Julie
Production Company: ABC Studios
Executive Producers/Writers: Nastaran Dibai, Jeffrey Hodes
Executive Producer/Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Forget who gets to keep the ring when a couple splits the real question is, who gets to keep the friends? In this modern comedy, a couple’s break up will complicate all of their friends’ lives and make everyone question their choices. When life throws you for a loop… hold on tight to the people you love.
Every circle of friends has someone who’s the gravitational center. For years, perfect couple Dave and Alex drew their friends in and held them together. Now that they’ve split, does this group have the stuff to stay together? Or do Max, Brad, Jane, and Penny have to choose sides? Suddenly every event is a negotiation. Like, who gets to go on the annual ski trip? There are a lot of big questions to be answered, but this group has been together so long, somehow, little by little, they’ll figure out how to hold on, even though their center is split up. It helps that Dave and Alex have agreed to stay friends. But there will definitely be other complications down the road like Penny’s long-suppressed feelings for Dave. What is the waiting period for dating a friend’s ex? This show isn’t afraid to ask the embarrassing personal questions that inevitably arise in every long-term, close-knit group of friends.
This relatable comedy from executive producer Jamie Tarses (My Boys) and hot new writer David Caspe examines the complex network of long-term friendships. Just because one couple breaks up, does that mean their whole urban family has to fall apart? Nope. It just means life is going to get a lot more complicated.
Zachary Knighton: Dave
Elisha Cuthbert: Alex
Casey Wilson: Penny
Eliza Coupe: Jane
Adam Pally: Max
Damon Wayans Jr.: Brad
Production Companies: ABC Studios, Sony Pictures Television, Fanfare
Executive Producer/Writer: David Caspe
Executive Producers: Jamie Tarses, Jonathan Groff
Director: Russo Brothers
HOW TO BE A BETTER AMERICAN
There comes a time in every family man’s life when he has to choose between his big screen TV and his family. For Hugh Pell, that day has arrived. Hugh is determined to change his ways and remind his wife why she married him in the first place. Unfortunately, miracles don’t happen overnight.
Sure, Hugh Pell has some redeeming qualities. They’re just buried deep down inside of him. His wife Katie married him because he was sweet, funny and generous. Over the years, however, he’s become clueless, misguided and, well, let’s face it, just plain rude. In fact, when Hugh goes in for his annual review, he finds out just how unlikable he’s become. Hugh’s sweet boss has to break it to him that, even though he’s very good at his job, he’s been passed up for promotion because no one can stand him. Hugh goes home, hoping for some sympathy, but it turns out he’s not very popular there, either. He never listens to his wife, misses his son’s soccer games, and has completely failed to notice that his 12-year-old daughter is now actually 13. Even his slacker brother Chad, who crashes on their couch, has to admit that living with Hugh is no great shakes. Right then and there, Hugh decides he wants to be a better man. No, not just a better man… a better American. Unfortunately for Hugh, after a lifetime of bad behavior, that’s going to be a lot harder than he thinks.
Created by Scrubs’ Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley, How to Be A Better American introduces hilarious every-dad, Hugh Pell. Despite his best intentions, Hugh is comically incapable of doing the right thing. He’s never going to be perfect, but he’s trying hard to at least be the guy his wife fell in love with.
Jason Jones: Hugh Pell
Missi Pyle: Katie Pell
Johnny Sneed: Chad Pell
Dylan Matzke: Martin Pell
Emily Rose Everhard: Lola
Production Company: ABC Studios
Executive Producers/Writers: Steven Cragg, Brian Bradley
Executive Producer: Mike Sikowitz
Executive Producer/Director: Adam Bernstein
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Karen and Howard are just like any other couple lovingly raising their teenage son except they happen to live across the street from each other; Karen is remarried and Howard is gay. It Takes a Village is the comedy that proves that unconditional love can come in unconventional packages.
Howard and Karen are devoted parents who raised their precocious, 15-year old son George in a protective bubble. That bubble burst big time, however, the day Karen and Howard got divorced and Howard came out of the closet. Now Karen and Howard live right across the street from each other; Karen is remarried to Carl, and everything’s friendly. Right up until Howard invites his boyfriend Scott to move in. Suddenly, George has four parents keeping an eye on him at all times and they’re always in each other’s business. That’s kind of okay, though. When you’re a teenage boy, having your parents divorce and your dad announce that he’s gay, kind of stinks. But having four great, loving parents always looking out for you? That’s pretty cool.
In this single-camera comedy, up-and-coming writers Casey Johnson and David Windsor explore the intricate, sometimes delicate, and always-complicated dynamics of divorced family life.
Chris Sieber: Howard
Leah Remini: Karen
James Patrick Stuart: Carl
Cheyenne Jackson: Scott
Zach Mills: George
Gabriel Morales: Chris
Production Companies: ABC Studios, Mark Gordon Company
Executive Producers/Writers: David Windsor, Casey Johnson
Executive Producers: Mark Gordon, Deb Spera, Victor Fresco
Director/Executive Producer: Mike Fresco
Everyone’s life feels like a three-ring circus. For Ben, the middle-aged manager of a mid-level sports arena, some days that’s exactly what it is. In this outrageous workplace comedy, Ben has to juggle a wide variety of sports and entertainment acts, while handling his erratic boss and apathetic staff.
The Sunshine Center has seen better days, but then again, so has Ben. Ben’s unpredictable boss Crystal is the head of this little dysfunctional workplace family. Ben’s not-quite girlfriend Alice is the heart and mouth of the place. She handles PR. His nemesis at The Sunshine Center is Alonzo, who competes with him for Alice’s affection. Alonzo is smooth, attentive, and committed basically everything that Ben isn’t at least not yet. Luckily, Ben also has an unlikely confidant and ally in Crystal’s unmotivated son Roman. Roman’s not much good at work, but he’s a heck of a listener.
Each week, despite the unusual demands of the ever-changing touring events, Ben tries to keep it all together. Crystal’s flightiness may drive him crazy and his slacker crew might make him nuts, but Ben is determined to make the Sunshine Center the very best second rate, two-bit stadium in the world.
Mr. Sunshine is co-written by Matthew Perry along with Alex Barnow and Marc Firek and executive produced by Jamie Tarses (My Boys) and Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing), who also directs this wild new workplace comedy. Mr. Sunshine proves even when you’re out of your element, you can still be in the right arena.
Matthew Perry: Ben
Allison Janney: Crystal
Nate Torrence: Roman
Andrea Anders: Alice
James Lesure: Alonzo
Production Company: Sony Pictures Television
Executive Producers/Writers: Matthew Perry, Marc Firek, Alex Barnow
Executive Producer: Jamie Tarses
Director/Executive Producer: Tommy Schlamme
NOLAN KNOWS BEST
When your Dad is a legend in your town, it can be hard to get out from under his shadow. When your Dad moves in to the apartment over your garage… forget about it!
All his life, Dana Nolan knew his dad Phil loved his older brother Stan more. No matter what Dana did, he never quite seemed to measure up to his dad’s old-school values. Obviously, he couldn’t be the best son, so instead, Dana decided to be the best husband and dad he could possibly be.
Now, Dana has the chance to get a little closer to his dad. After bailing Stan out of yet another jam, Phil is moving in to the spare apartment above Dana’s garage. Just great. You see, to Dana’s adorable daughters, Phil is their lovable grandpa. And at the high school where Dana works as a guidance counselor, Phil is the legendary ‘Coach Phil’ who still shows up every day to give the team a pep-talk. But to the long-suffering Dana… he’s just the same old critical dad he’s always known and grudgingly loves. Luckily, Dana has his wife Julie to keep him grounded, but as a full-time anesthesiologist she’s got her own problems like being judged by other school moms who only work part-time. Dana’s smart enough to know he’s got to make the best of his dad situation, but it’s going to take time… a whole lot of time.
Comedian Dana Gould takes a page from his own life and lets us all laugh at the thousand small humiliations he’s suffered from his dad. Nolan Knows Best is a family comedy about trying to get out from under your dad’s shadow, while attempting to live up to his high expectations.
Dana Gould: Dana
Traylor Howard: Julie
Brian Dennehy: Phil
Todd Stashwick: Stan
Lexi Jourden: Abby
Payton Lucas: Elaine
Production Companies: Warner Bros. Television, 3 Arts
Executive Producer/Writer: Dana Gould
Executive Producers: Tom Lassally, Dave Becky, Mike Scully
Director: Craig Zisk
When two grown, liberal kids return home to live with their opinionated, conservative father, the whole family will have to face one heck of a generation gap. A modern day All In The Family, Southern Discomfort invites you to sit back, relax and slip into something a little uncomfortable like someone else’s family.
Bob Dobson wants to be a supportive dad, but his kids don’t make it easy. Bob and his wife Mary Lou were looking forward to their golden retirement years together. They’d already bought Rudy, their trophy dog. First, their son Ty came home to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. And now, their perfect Harvard-educated daughter has decided to turn down her dream job in New York to move back home and be with her high school sweetheart. Bob just doesn’t get it. He’s given his kids every advantage, so why can’t they make something out of their lives? Like becoming the people he always dreamed they would be?? As Bob’s wife gently reminds him, part of growing up means allowing kids to make their own decisions. Bob’s trying to accept that, but that doesn’t mean he has to like it.
From novelist Chad Kultgen, Rob Long (Cheers), and executive producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum (Two and a Half Men) comes a hilarious new multi-camera comedy that puts today’s generation gap under a microscope. Sure, Bob is pompous, sexist and narrow-minded, but he also works hard so that his more enlightened children can afford all their high-minded ideals. Since the Dobsons have a little trouble relating to each other, it’s up to the family dog, Rudy, to listen to their troubles and help them figure out how to get along.
Mary Steenburgen: Mary Lou
Production Companies: ABC Studios, Sony Pictures Television
Writer: Chad Kultgen
Executive Producers: Rob Long, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz
Director: Andy Cadiff
SHANA GOLDBERG-MEEHAN UNTITLED
Which kind of love is better, the slow and steady kind that grows over time or the truly, madly deeply kind that happens in a flash? Two couples, from two different generations, have very different outlooks on love. But together, they discover that when it comes to relationships, everyone has to find their own way.
Ben and Maddie followed every rule, except for getting married. After nine years together, they’re totally committed to each other and they don’t need a stupid piece of paper to prove it, thank you very much. At least until Maddie’s little sister Mia gets engaged. Mia and Casey are completely different from Ben and Maddie. Young and impulsive, Mia and Casey live in the moment which might have something to do with how Mia and Casey ended up both pregnant and engaged after only two months of dating. At first, Ben and Maddie are shocked… and maybe even a little jealous. Should they have gotten married at some point? They’re even more jealous when Maddie and Mia’s notoriously high-maintenance, meddling parents, the Putneys, welcome their new son-in-law with open arms. Maddie and Ben have to ask themselves… is their slow, cautious love as strong as Mia and Casey’s untamed version? As Ben and Maddie welcome Casey into their lives and help guide him through the minefields of Maddie and Mia’s eccentric family little by little both of these couples discover that married or not, it’s the togetherness that counts.
From creator Shana Goldberg-Meehan (Friends, Mad About You) comes a fresh, funny look at couplehood. No two relationships are quite alike. That’s part of what makes them so great.
Joanna Garcia: Mia
Jennifer Finnigan: Maddie
Josh Cooke: Ben
Jake Lacy: Casey
Debra Jo Rupp: Vicky
Production Company: Warner Bros. Television
Executive Producer/Writer: Shana Goldberg-Meehan
Director: Jimmy Burrows
WHO GETS THE PARENTS
When most couples get divorced, the big question is who gets custody of the kids. When a couple with three adult children gets divorced, the question is who gets stuck with the parents?
After 30 years of marriage, Gene and Phyllis Fiddleman have decided to call it quits. There was just something missing. Fiery Phyllis didn’t exactly choose this, but now that she has the freedom and excitement of being single, she’s embracing it. All her anti-social husband Gene wants is someone to help him operate the dishwasher. Their three adult children are startled by the divorce. Well, most of them, at least. Their 26-year old totally co-dependent youngest son Mitch has to confess that he suspected something. After all, he still lives at home. Their momma’s boy 28-year old middle son Neil is happily married to Brenda, but secretly wishes he still lived at home. Meanwhile, their well-adjusted, independent 30-year old daughter Cass is quite happy to live as far from her parents as she can get. So imagine how she feels when mom moves into the apartment next door. Everyone wants his or her family to be close, but there’s got to be a limit, right??
Executive produced by Peter Traugott (Samantha Who?) and created by Just Shoot Me’s Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, this family comedy is an irreverent look at how grown children deal with their parents’ second adolescence. Ask not what your parents have done for you, but Who Gets The Parents?
Adam Arkin: Gene
Jane Kaczmarek: Phyllis
Lindsey Broad: Cass
Andrew J. West: Mitch
Derek Richardson: Neil
Lindsay Price: Brenda
Production Companies: ABC Studios, Brillstein Entertainment Partners
Executive Producers/Writers: Joe Port, Joe Wiseman
Executive Producer: Peter Traugott
Director: Mark Cendrowski
WRIGHT VS. WRONG
The problem with being a public figure is that it can be pretty hard to have a good private life. Especially when you’re Evelyn Wright, a conservative pundit who happens to be one of the most polarizing figures in America.
Wright is a rising star in the right-wing political arena. She’s intelligent, confident, beautiful, and of course, Christian. That’s all great, but her personal life leaves something to be desired. Evelyn has Baker, her amazing fianc, but she realizes she doesn’t have any close female friends to be her bridesmaids. Oh sure, there’s Crystal, her personal assistant who doubles as Evelyn’s punching bag. Or maybe Joan, Evelyn’s no-nonsense manager who’s busy pushing Evelyn’s new book, Democrap. She does have Adrian, her liberal-minded ghostwriter, but he’s a guy and everyone knows he’s just killing time until he can score a job at The Daily Show. Pretty much the only people who hang out with Evelyn, besides her fianc, are the ones who are paid to be there. Sadly, the only woman she really relates to is Keri Daly, her liberal counterpart and sparring partner. Everyone knows Evelyn’s a brilliant strategist, but can Wright ever get her personal life right?
Written by Stephanie Weir (Mad TV), Andy Fickman directs and is one of the executive producers of this single camera comedy along with Debra Messing, Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development), and Betsy Thomas (My Boys). Wright Vs. Wrong is the workplace comedy that shows that even the toughest and most opinionated public figures are privately just as insecure as the rest of us.
Debra Messing: Evelyn Wright
Melissa Rauch: Crystal Ball
Patrick Fugit: Adrian Manly
Cheryl Hines: Keri Daly
Carrie Fisher: Joan Harrington
Production Companies: Sony Pictures Television, Tantamount
Co-Executive Producer/Writer: Stephnie Weir
Executive Producers: Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mitch Hurwitz, Debra Messing, Betsy Thomas
Executive Producer/Director: Andy Fickman