Tons of news from the television front, as CBS, NBC, ABC and The CW have all announced renewals and new projects in the works. Let’s jump right into it.
Over at ABC, the hit sitcom Modern Family, with a stellar cast featuring Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, and Ed O’Neill, has been renewed for an eighth season. Actor/Comedian Ken Jeong’s Dr. Ken was renewed for a second season. The sitcom is based on Jeong’s experience as a doctor, before he hit it big in The Hangover and Community. Family sitcoms The Goldbergs and The Middle were also renewed, the former starring Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Jeff Garlin and Reno 911!’s Wendi McLendon-Covey, and the latter starring Everybody Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton and Scrubs’ Neil Flynn. Anthony Anderson and Traci Ellis Ross’s sitcom Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat starring Randall Park, Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, and The Real O’Neals have also been renewed, rounding out ABC’s veteran sitcom front.
Also of note: the network’s sitcom version of the classic John Candy film Uncle Buck will premiere next month, on June 14th. The show stars veteran comedian/actor Mike Epps.
ABC announced that they’ve also got a few new shows in the pipeline. Downward Dog, starring Fargo’s Allison Tolman, is about the life of disenchanted millennial Nan (played by Tolman,) as narrated by her philosophical dog, Martin. Yes, it’s a talking dog show, but apparently the pilot was so well received that the network picked it up despite worries about the sustainability of the premise. Imaginary Mary is a unique one: This show follows Alice, played by Dharma and Greg’s Jenna Elfman, as her struggle to adapt to a new love life with a father of three is made even stranger when her childhood imaginary friend (voiced by SNL’s Rachel Dratch) shows up out of the blue and starts giving her life advice.
One of the most well received pilots that ABC picked up was Speechless. The show stars Minnie Driver and John Ross Bowie, the parents of JJ, a special needs child, as they try to settle into a new town and “fight injustices both real and imagined.” The final new project is an unnamed show which follows the life of Katie Otto (played by Katy Mixon of Mike and Molly, and Eastbound & Down) a rotund and unapologetic mother and wife, as she attempts to deal with the “perfect” mothers and families that surround her in her snooty neighborhood in Westport, Connecticut. The show was formerly called The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport, but that name was thrown out for obvious reasons.
CBS saw a few of its mainstay sitcoms renewed as well. The nerdy primetime juggernaut The Big Bang Theory, which needs no introduction, was renewed for a 10th season. 2 Broke Girls, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs as two broke, snarky waitresses, was renewed for season six. The Chuck Lorre-created Mom, starring Scary Movie and Smiley Face’s Anna Faris as a recovering addict and mother of two, was renewed for a fourth season. The bromantic bachelor-pad sitcom The Odd Couple, starring Friends’ Matthew Perry and Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon also received a renewal, alongside the star-studded family sitcom Life in Pieces, with a cast featuring names like Colin Hanks, Betsy Brandt and James Brolin.
The network also announced a couple of promising new shows: Kevin Can Wait, starring stand-up comic and The King of Queens lead Kevin James as a retiring police officer who finds the challenges in his home to be greater than the ones on the street. The Great Indoors will star Joel McHale as Joel, an adventure reporter for a magazine who suddenly finds himself in charge of a group of millennial employees who are anything but outdoorsy. Finally, Friends’ Matt LeBlanc stars in Man with a Plan, playing a contractor who begins spending more time with his (possibly maniacal) kids when his wife goes back to work. Incidentally LeBlanc’s acclaimed Showtime series, Episodes will wrap after the upcoming Season Five airs.
The CW saw a little less action on the comedy front, with only a few renewals and a single new show being introduced. The telenovela-parodying Jane the Virgin, which follows the life of Jane Villanueva after she was accidentally inseminated during a routine hospital visit, was renewed for a third season. Sci-fi series iZombie, about the life of newly zombified medical student Liv will also return for a third season. Freshman comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, written by/starring Rachel Bloom, will see a second season.
The network has three new shows on the way, but only one that might interest comedy fans: Riverdale, based on the popular Archie comics universe. The show will follow titular character Archie Andrews as he enjoys an idyllic, small-town life, and then watches the sheen start to wear away as he discovers the dark underbelly of Riverdale.
Fox has a solid slate of comedies in their ranks, and they know it: They’ve renewed a bunch of comedies for the upcoming television season. Old mainstay The Simpsons, currently on its 26th season, has been renewed through season 28, because the legendary show can basically write its own contracts at this point. Fellow animated feature Bob’s Burgers, featuring voice-overs from Archer’s H. Jon Benjamin and comedians Kristen Schaal and Eugene Mirman, was picked up for an eighth season.
On the sitcom front, Fox will be bringing back a few fan-favorites. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the star-studded cop comedy starring SNL’s Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, Joe Lo Truglio and Andre Braugher, is coming back for a fourth season. The hilarious apocalyptic comedy The Last Man on Earth, which stars Flight of the Conchords’ Kristen Schaal alongside former SNL stars Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis, has (not surprisingly) been renewed for season three. Last but not least, Zooey Deschanel will reprise her role as Jess, the goofy-yet-loveable fourth roommate in an apartment full of guys on the hit show New Girl. The show’s production is in limbo until Deschanel gives birth to her first child.
The network’s Tosh.0-meets-Ridiculousness viral video showcase World’s Funniest will also be returning, along with the comedy/horror-parody hybrid, Scream Queens, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Reno 911!’s Niecy Nash.
Fox will also be introducing a few new shows this year, including one from The Last Man on Earth co-star Jason Sudeikis. Sudeikis will provide the voice of the main character, Zorn, in the new series Son of Zorn. This first-of-its-kind show will follow the day-to-day life of He Man-esque character Zorn, an epic (and animated) hero who returns to Earth after a ten-year mission on his home planet of Zephyria, only to struggle to re-connect with his (live action) son and wife. The show has a killer cast, featuring Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Cheryl Hines, SNL alum Tim Meadows, and comedian Johnny Pemberton.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the producers behind The Last Man on Earth and Son of Zorn, are also working on a time-travel show called Making History, the story of three friends (Adam Pally, Leighton Meester and Yassir Lester) from various time periods who travel through time, falling in love and experiencing insane adventures along the way. The last of the new batch is The Mick, starring It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olson as Mackenzie, a crass, blue collar chick who must take care of her sister’s three rich, spoiled kids after her sister and brother-in-law flee the country to avoid federal charges.
Last but not least, NBC made a few announcements regarding their schedule this year. One freshman show has been granted a second season.Superstore, the workplace comedy that tells the story of Amy (played by America Ferrera) and her day-to-day battles working at a megastore chain that totally isn’t supposed to be Walmart. The Carmichael Show is getting a third season. The Carmichael Show, follows Jerrod (played by creator Jerrod Carmichael) and his girlfriend Maxine as they struggle to deal with his overbearing parents and brother, who end up living with them.
The network also has a promising slate of new shows lined up. Tina Fey’s Great News was just picked up. The show stars Briga Heelan as Katie, a news producer whose career is going great until her mother decides to get an internship at her daughter’s station. Marlon Wayans’ Marlon was also given the green light, a series based on the actor’s real-life experiences of trying to co-parent his two children with his ex-wife. While little is known about the project, Dan Fogelman’s This is Us, which was one of the season’s most well-received pilots, has been green lit by the network as well. The show is a dramedy that tells the tale of an ensemble cast of characters that are all mysteriously linked to one another, Tarantino-style. Already announced last summer, NBC is adding The Good Place starring Kristen Bell playing a woman who enters the afterlife and is mentored by Ted Danson.
Community’s Danny Pudi will be returning to the network this year, alongside former Disney star Vanessa Hudgens, for the new DC Comics comedy Powerless. The show will take place in the DC universe, where heroes and villains exist alongside everyday people. Pudi and Hudgens play said everyday people as they attempt to find their own power while working at an insurance company. NBC’s last new offering will be Trial and Error, a legal-spoof comedy that follows Nick D’Agosto’s character, a hot-shot lawyer, along with his barely-capable legal team that features John Lithgow, as they try to tackle a high-profile murder case.
And so the upfront season goes: More shows are added to the sea of already-available content — some taking the spots of shows which drowned miserably before them. Many of them won’t make it past a first season, but some are destined to be gems whose value will begin to show as they are polished and honed over the next couple years. Among this list are at least a few future cult-classics, so keep an eye out for them!
[H/T] The Hollywood Reporter for their exhaustive and incredibly useful network scheduling guide!