Tag: libby and malcolm

ABC 2017/2018 Comedy Pilots ranked


ABC had a rough year in the drama department but comedy wise, all’s good in the hood! That’s where they excel. Modern Family has lost ground but it’s still fine and remains the center piece of ABC Funny; The Middle moved quite smoothly to tuesdays and helped significantly what once was a dead night for the network; The Goldbergs proved they could anchor wednesday nights as well as The Middle did for the past years; Blackish is not a huge success but the Golden Globes and the Emmys love it; Fresh Off The Boat managed to keep its head above water facing NBC’s tremendous hit This Is Us; and Last Man Standing once again did miracles for friday nights. But that’s not it for the winners: the two new fall entries American Housewife & Speechless also did amazing and fit perfectly with the comedy blocks. They’re probably here for the long haul.

Bad news are for Dr Ken, which might not be worthy of a renewal despite satisfying but not great numbers after Last Man Standing; The Real O’Neals, which showed promise during its first year last spring but couldn’t resist to This Is Us with disappointing numbers all year long and ABC doesn’t have any room for a pity renewal; and spring entry Imaginary Mary that didn’t deliver, the Jenna Elfman’ curse striked again. With theorically only one slot available for a new comedy next year and 13 pilots vying for it, ABC will have tough choices to make, especially since they had once again a great development slate. Will they add one hour of comedy on sunday night? Will they get rid off their friday night sitcoms for single cams?



  1. LIBBY & MALCOLM (ABC Studios)

    Two opposing pundits also happen to be married. One’s black, one’s white; one’s left, one’s right. Bitter rivals at work on their own political talk show Black & Wright, Libby & Malcolm have to turn conflict into compromise at home when it comes to raising their kids. With Felicity Huffman, Courtney B. Vance, Gary Cole, James Lesure…

Libby & Malcolm is about finding strength and answers through our differences, whether they are political or personal. It’s about unity. And unity is exactly what is missing in this sad sad world. It gives reflection, hope and fun. There are not so many comedies like that on television right now, let alone on a network. The next great comedy is here. And we’re ready for it. Felicity Huffman & Courtney B. Vance will get awards recognition with this one. ABC just can’t do without it. Pure and simple.


Read the full preview


2. RAISED BY WOLVES (Warner Bros. Television)

    Sheila Gable is a one tough mother struggling to support her five opinionated, eccentric kids on a shoestring budget in a Midwestern town. With Georgia King, Craig T. Nelson

Raised By Wolves is a like an edgier version of The Middle, with a different parenting dynamics since it’s about a single mother and I’d like ABC to think of those families too that do exist. It’s not always a mommy, a daddy and three or four kids. There is a big Shameless feel to it, which is not so surprising since it’s also the adaptation of an english series, with Diablo Cody’s unique voice making it even more special. It totally fits with the actual line-up and adds something more. A no-brainer to me… if only a more well-known actress had accepted the leading role!


3. STARTING UP (Sony Pictures Television)

     About all the things that happen — the good, the bad and the ugly — when a guy in his mid-30s with a wife and two kids makes the crazy decision to quit his good job and dive into the brave new world of starting a business. With Zach Braff, Tiya Sircar, Michael Imperioli…

Fun, smart an inspirational, Starting Up feels like Zach Braff’s feel good movies. It’s part family comedy, part workplace comedy, and the two genres mesh surprisingly well. It shares a lot of DNA with Blackish by the way. Scrubs fans will be happy to have Braff’s voice over back on TV on a weekly basis. And ABC should be happy to have a comedy that may skew more male than what they’re used to. A safe bet for a pick-up.


4. THE MAYOR (ABC Studios)

    Courtney Rose, a talented but struggling hip-hop artist, runs for mayor to promote his mixtape – and wins. The guy is a quitenssential optimistic, a dreamer through and through. He’s the coolest, most fun dude in town, and if you don’t believe it, just ask him and he’ll tell you. With Brandon Micheal Hall, Lea Michele, Yvette Nicole Brown…

It starts like a comedic version of Designated Survivor, it ends up like nothing else on the network or any other network for instance. So yeah, it’s a little off brand, it’s a wild card, but ABC should take this risk while they can. It’s political and topical; there’s a bit of a Parks And Recreation vibe because of the setting and the group of characters that will soon become a family of some sort. And there’s music too. What else?


5. LOSING IT (ABC Studios)

    About three misfit adult siblings and their parents who — between divorce, new parenthood, early-onset dementia and let’s just say life — are all losing it in different ways. And family is the only way they’re going to find it. With Jon Cryer, Natalie Morales, Sam Huntington, Gerald McRaney…

Adult siblings, death, alzheimer disease… Losing It is not your typical ABC family comedy. It can get really dark. But it’s very funny too and definitely different. It’s hard not to think of This Is Us, especially with Gerald McRaney being part of the cast and some sort of surprising twist towards the end. Will the comparison help it or doom it? I’m not sure but I want to believe there’s a special place for it somewhere on the schedule.


6. SPLITTING UP TOGETHER (Warner Bros. Television)

      The story of a couple whose marriage is reignited by their divorce. With Jenna Fischer, Oliver Hudson, Diane Farr…

The logline is a little short and doesn’t say what the show really is about. It’s a modern, emotional & edgy tale of a divorcing couple that decides to keep on living together with the kids for financial and sentimental reasons. I think it can really strike a chord with the audience if the cast delivers and if the execution is as impressive as the script asks it to be. But ABC will probably have to chose between this one and Raised By Wolves, since both are produced by Warner Bros. In a perfect world, they’d take both.


7. SCHOOLED – aka THE GOLDBERGS SPIN-OFF (Sony Pictures Television)

    Set in the 1990s and follows two high school teachers who become unlikely father figures to the kids at their Philadelphia school, the same school Adam from The Goldbergs graduated from. With Nia Long, Bryan Callen, Tim Meadows

ABC never tried to spin-off Modern Family or The Middle. Why starting now with The Goldbergs? I don’t think Schooled is needed and I’m sorry to report this pilot is not as good as the mothership’s. That being said, it’s effective, funny and it has potential moving forward. It’s yet again a family comedy but the difference is it’s mostly set in a high-school. Beverly Goldberg makes an appearance at the beginning but other than that, Schooled is its own thing. From a marketing perspective, ABC might be very tempted to give it a try and noboby could blame them.



  Captain Charlie Taylor, a cautious, lovable dentist stationed at Fort Bragg, promises to look after his brother’s impulsive fiancée and her two misfit teens while his brother is deployed in Iraq… With Jason Biggs, Ana Ortiz, Swoozie Kurtz, Robert Baker…

Well. I’m not sure why ABC decided to order a pilot for this one, other than the military is very trendy these days and they probably wanted to be part of it in their own way, through comedy. But the problem is this script is really weak and I don’t think this quite good cast can do anything about it. It’s way too cheesy to be taken seriously and not funny enough to be watched like a guilty-pleasure comedy. Don’t make this mistake, ABC…


9. JALEN VS EVERYBODY (20th Century FOX Television & ABC Studios)

  Former NBA player and current ESPN personality Jalen Rose juggles his career responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad. With Jalen Rose, Anna Maria Horsford, Marla Gibbs, Rich Sommer…

I’m not familiar with Jalen Rose but I can recognize a good comedy and this one is not. There is too much sports talk and private jokes to be appreciated widely and the central story about a dad who doesn’t want his children to grow is overused to death. It has to stop now. We get it. The behind-the-scenes part resembles Libby & Malcolm‘s except here we just don’t care. It’s just an excuse to have famous faces passing by. Creator Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off the Boat, Don’t Trust the B****) is worth better than that…


BLACKISH SPIN-OFF (ABC Studios) > Haven’t watched the planted episode focusing on Zoey Johnson as she heads to college but people don’t seem to be very happy with it and it’s probably not a good idea for ABC. Maybe for Freeform? Nice try but pass.



  1. HOUSEHOLD NAME (Universal Television)

    A family gets a chance to buy the house of their dreams but under extremely abnormal circumstances: they must live with the current owner, an eccentric, larger-than-life actress — until she dies. With Carol Burnett, Matt Oberg, Timothy Omundson, Mary Holland…

This one’s a bit like Hot In Cleveland but more family-friendly with Carol Burnett instead of Betty White. It’s a solid and often hilarious old-school sitcom, that may not belong to ABC in 2017 or any other network. It’s for TV Land, if TV Land was still doing one of those. I’d be very happy to watch it if ABC gave it a chance but I have my doubts they will. The rumor has it NBC -which produces it- will pick it up if ABC passes on. To pair with Will & Grace? It would be an interesting option. Like the “Golden Gay Comedy Hour”.



      An intellectual but emotionally challenged single dad moves to Queens with his two young daughters and forms an unlikely family with the other residents in their apartment building. With Rob Riggle, Lombardo Boyar, Amy Hill…

Yet another old-school sitcom, cute and sweet, almost cheesy. Sadly, the dad character is kind of irritating and the kids characters have nothing special going for them. The neighbours are the funniest ones. It doesn’t sound like ABC to me.



PILOT WHISPERER: New edition #PilotSeason

First published on December, 07

2017 pilot season officially started yesterday when ABC ordered political comedy pilot Libby & Malcolm starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance as we reported 3 weeks ago. Other comedies are nearing pilot orders while deals are being worked out.


At ABC, the next one on the list is Rapper Mayor / Untitled City Mayor Project, that could be descrided as a comedic version of hit Designated Survivor. It is about Courtney Rose, a talented but struggling hip-hop artist, who runs for mayor to promote his mixtape – and wins. The guy is a quitenssential optimistic, a dreamer through and through. He’s the coolest, most fun dude in town, and if you don’t believe it, just ask him and he’ll tell you… It’s created by Jeremy Bronson, writer and producer on The Mindy Project and Speechless, and produced by Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings) for ABC Studios. The casting for the leading man is underway. PICKED-UP

The multicamera comedy project Documenting Love, sort of a Mad About You new generation has a pilot production commitment, as well as thriller drama Doomsday from Sony Pictures Television about a secret think tank featuring the most creative minds in science and entertainment that is tasked with dreaming up man-made disaster scenarios and their possible solutions. PICKED-UP  DTLA, about a celebrity choreographer who must fight to protect her status, family, business and secrets, is heating up. The Untitled Marc Cherry drama with Reba McEntire is already ordered to pilot.

Comedy Start Up starring Zach Braff is inching closer to a pick-up PICKED-UP, as well as Splitting Up Together produced by Ellen De Generes  PICKED-UP and Charlie Foxtrot from Aaron Kaplan PICKED-UP. A not-yet-announced project starring basketball player Jalen Rose, Jalen vs Everybody, and written by Nahnatchka Khan, is heating up. PICKED-UP


At CBS, the Untitled Chris Distefano Hybrid Comedy Project is heating up. Written and produced by How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas. Inspired by comedian Chris Distefano’s life story, the hybrid project is centered on Izzy and Chris, two 20-somethings who are raising their newborn daughter and merging their loud families – one Puerto Rican, one Italian… PICKED-UP

Me, Myself and I is also on the map. The single-camera comedy which examines one man’s life over a 50-year span, somewhat in the vein of movie Boyhood, has a put pilot. PICKED-UP And of course, the order for The Big Bang Theory spin-off Sheldon is just a formality. UPDATE: World Wide Webbs, a comedy about a family who became rich and famous thank to their daily video blogs, is on tracks for an order.

On the drama side, quirky cop show Magnolia Springs about a sheriff and his teenage son solving crimes in a small city is gearing up towards a pick-up, casting is underway. Firewall, a new procedural from Mentalist creator, is also hot. Luc Besson’s Hunch, about a LAPD detective who begrudgingly teams up with a celebrity psychic who, unfortunately, is also his ex-wife, should get the nod soon; as well as Justin Lin’s SWAT,  a reboot of the 1970s series billed as an intense, action-packed procedural following an African-American SWAT lieutenant torn between loyalty to the streets and duty to his fellow officers. PICKED-UP


At NBC, while Amy Poehler’s off-cyle pilot The Baby starring Seann William Scott will shoot in a few days, the Untitled Kourtney Kang Comedy produced by Fresh Off The Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan is red hot. It explores what it’s like to grow up as the only girl in the only mixed race family in the suburbs of Philadelphia, dealing with real-world issues like race and gender while never losing focus of her life goal… to become a Laker Girl like her idol, Paula Abdul. PICKED-UP

In the drama department, the peacock has medical drama Salvation directed by Paul Haggis awaiting green light. It is billed as the first real-time hospital “extreme event” show, capturing the life-and-death choices nurses, PA’s and other front-line caregivers make as they struggle to provide care and triage. PICKED-UP Legal drama Blood Defense, based on Marcia Clark’s book about a relentless criminal attorney, is red hot for a pick-up, as well as Family Honor, from Matt Reeves, a police procedural told through the eyes of four diverse foster sisters. The Last Policeman is close to a pick-up. It follows a detective in New Hampshire during the final years of civilization as a catastrophe-level asteroid hurtles toward the planet. Heavy serialized legal drama Flight Risk from John Wells is also considered. Drama High, an high-school drama with musical elements written and produced by Jason Katims (Parenthood) with Hamilton producers Jeffrey Seller & Flody Suarez is red hot. PICKED-UP Last drama pilot order at NBC should go to Redliners, adapted from Charlaine Harris’ short stories, that mixes romance and espionnage about a pair of former spies living in suburbia who are reactivated when a failed hit on one of them leaves the assassin dead. PICKED-UP


At FOX, DC’s Black Lightning is almost a done deal PICKED-UP AT THE CW, as is Matt Nix’s untitled family superhero drama at Marvel in the X-Men Universe PICKED-UP. The network is just waiting for the final pilot script. Dr House creator David Shore could be back at FOX with an untitled project about a professional spy who teams up with an enterprising civilian to solve cases here and abroad. Control, by Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joyce, is heating up.

Comedy Thin Ice from New Girl creator is already ordered to pilot. Other comedy heating up is Turned On, directed by Paul Feig, about a brilliant but awkward engineer who creates an android who spirals out of control… The Untitled Wresting Comedy produced by Dwayne Johnson, Will Ferrell & Adam McKay, is also very much on the map.


At The CW the Charmed reboot seems to be a priority. Searchers pilot from The 100 creator Jason Rothenberg & Greg Berlanti is a sure thing, with a shooting expected to take place in South Africa. PICKED-UP Transience produced by Ian Somerhalder, is heating up, as well as LA Demonic for Warner Bros.


More to come…

Libby & Malcolm (ABC) pilot preview: Give it the “Best Comedy” Emmy Award already!

Written and produced by Kenya Barris (Blackish, The Game, Are we there yet?) & Vijal Patel (Blackish, The Middle). Also produced by Felicity Huffman & E. Brian Dobbins (The Sea of Trees). 37 pages. Network draft 11/28/16. For ABC Studios, Principato-Young Entertainment &  Khalabo Ink Society.

Description: Two opposing pundits also happen to be married. One’s black, one’s white; one’s left, one’s right. Bitter rivals at work on their own political talk show Black & Wright, Libby & Malcolm have to turn conflict into compromise at home when it comes to raising their kids…

With Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives, American Crime, Sports Night, Transamerica), Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story, Law & Order Criminal Intent, Flashforward, 12 Angry Men), Gary Cole (The Good Wife, Veep, The West Wing), James Lesure (Las Vegas, Men at Work, Liptstick Jungle), Caitlin McGee, Monique Green, Sayeed Shahidi (Uncle Buck), Jahi Di’allo Winston


You’ll like it if you already like: Modern Family, Blackish, Veep

Likely timeslot: wednesday, 9.30 after Modern Family.

Libby & Malcolm
was the first official order for the 2017 broadcast pilot season, it is the first script review I’m writing this year and it is undoubtedly the best comedy script in years! No surprise there was a bidding war among the networks to get it, especially with Felicity Huffman attached to star. And there was no better place for it than ABC quite frankly. It is the perfect combination between your regular family comedy with smart and hilarious parents and kids in the same vein as Modern Family and other ABC hits, your workplace comedy set behind the scenes of a television show like 30 Rock and your spicy political comedy that takes a very real look at how today’s “politics of division” play out. It couldn’t be more topical after the election of Donald Trump. It is the right comedy in the right place at the right time. And it’s already an Emmy Award contender for best comedy, best actress in a comedy and best actor in a comedy!

What’s brilliant with this show in the first place is how much it exists in the real world, the one we’re all living in, and in the now. At the beginning, there are images of glaciers collapsing, Syria, abandoned Detroit houses, cop shootings… Yeah yeah, it’s a comedy but it doesn’t shy away from the important topics and the real politics. It’s about the current and the future administration. Obama takes hits. Trump takes hits. Voters themselves take hits. And it’s not just about America. It’s about the whole world. It should resonate everywhere. What they experience over there is what we experience over here, and there and there. And it’s not boring. Fear not!

On the contrary. It’s funny all the time. It’s always sharp and clever. Tasteful. It can be ferocious too. Those two can get pretty nasty. You laugh and you think, and you think about why you’re laughing, maybe you even laugh about what you’re thinking. It creates debate. It places ideas at the center of it all. For example, during Libby & Malcolm talk show, there’s a led board of a light square hopping around various hot button issues, from very serious ones -LGBT rights, recycling- to lighter ones -sports team names- then they have to talk about the topic chosen with their guest, who’s Jon Hamm in the pilot (and yes, there’s a joke about his scrotch!). It’s very efficient and should be used as a gimmick in every episode. It will help the show stay relevant and close to reality. We also meet their producer, Randal Martin, a 60-year old complete narcissist, possibly racist, whose every line is hilarious; and Zev, their assistant, a techno journalist in her thirties who must be a lesbian according to Randal because she has a short hair cut. They’re all very promising. The pilot is filled with other guests (maybe a bit a too many?) like Tom Bergeron, Ryan Seacrest and Bill Maher, playing themselves.

The Black and Wright family is definitely a modern one. Malcolm, confident and cocky, had three children with his deceased wife: MJ, a sweet but neurotic 7 year-old boy, Cassius, 11, smart and cool, and Naya, 14, super-opiniated, “a pitbull” in a skirt, who hates Libby. Libby is their white step mom, a bright, beautiful, and bossy woman, who was already married once. Libby and Malcolm met not that long ago, they hated each other before falling in love and they decided to marry and live together very quickly. Now they are doing their best to be good parents while they are in the spotlight. Felicity Huffman & Courtney B. Vance will probably make a great couple. And Huffman has literally chemistry with everyone -that’s how good she is- so there is no doubt about it. They have plenty of top-notch dialogues to help them do so, and even some “walk and talk” scenes, made popular by The West Wing. And in case you’re wondering, there are also very sweet moments with the kids towards the end, the kind that can make you cry juste like that. Yes, there’s eveything we could hope for in this pilot. Everything!

In the end, Libby & Malcolm is about finding strength and answers through our differences, whether they are political or personal. It’s about unity. And unity is exactly what is missing in this sad sad world. It gives reflection, hope and fun. There are not so many comedies like that on television right now, let alone on a network. The next great comedy is here. And we’re ready for it.