Tag: zach braff

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.


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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.