A Guide to the New Crop of Network Comedies
The broadcast networks canceled a whopping 18 comedies this year, which means there are a lot of holes to fill with new sitcoms come fall, especially with NBC and ABC, the two networks that canceled the most comedies. Among this season’s highlights are Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the first series Tina Fey has created since 30 Rock; Marry Me, starring Casey Wilson and Ken Marino and created by Happy Endings‘ David Caspe; and standup and SNL writer John Mulaney’s self-titled sitcom, which will see the light of day this fall after nearly two years in development. We organized all the season’s new comedies into the following guide:
Starring: Casey Wilson, Ken Marino, Tim Meadows, John Gemberling, Sarah Wright, Tymberlee Hill
Created by: David Caspe (creator of Happy Endings)
NBC scored a Happy Endings reunion with Marry Me, a new comedy that sees the show’s creator, David Caspe, and one of its stars, Casey Wilson, working together again. In Marry Me, Wilson and Ken Marino play a longtime couple who are moving forward with their engagement after a botched proposal.
Starring: Kate Walsh, John Ducey, Mather Zickel, Arden Myrin, Tone Bell, Robby Shoemaker, Theodore Barnes, Miguel Sandoval
Created by: Chad Kultgen (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone); Produced by: Kate Walsh, Adam McKay, Will Ferrell, Anne Heche
One of two NBC sitcoms from producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay this season, Bad Judge stars Kate Walsh as Rebecca Wright, a judge whose hard-partying, openly sexual nature is in conflict with her serious job. Rebecca is forced to reevaluate her lifestyle when an eight-year-old boy whose parents she jailed asks for her help.
A to Z
Starring: Cristin Milioti, Ben Feldman, Leonora Crichlow, Henry Zebrowski, Christina Kirk
Created by: Ben Queen (Cars 2); Produced by: Rashida Jones
How I Met Your Mother mother Cristin Milioti and Ben Feldman, Michael Ginsberg from Mad Men, play the leads in A to Z, a new romantic comedy from NBC. Feldman plays a guy who works at a dating site and Milioti is a customer who winds up meeting him when she comes into the office after a glitch with the site.
Mission Control (midseason)
Starring: Krysten Ritter, Tommy Dewey, Michael Rosenbaum, Malcolm Barrett, Jonathan Slavin, Julie Meyer, Eric Nenninger, Leah Renee
Created by: David Hornsby (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia); Produced by: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Don’t Trust the B actress Krysten Ritter returns for her first sitcom lead role since that series with Mission Control, a comedy about NASA employees in 1962. Ritter plays Dr. Mary Kendricks, a female engineer leading an all-male team of scientists in space exploration during a time when women were treated pretty awfully, especially in the workplace. Matters are made worse when Kendricks is assigned a hot shot misogynist astronaut named Tom (Tommy Dewey, The Mindy Project) to co-manage her team.
One Big Happy (midseason)
Starring: Elisha Cuthbert, Nick Zano, Kelly Brook, Brandon Smith, Rebecca Corry, Chris Williams
Created by: Liz Feldman (2 Broke Girls); Produced by: Ellen DeGeneres
Every Happy Endings star is returning to primetime this season, with Elisha Cuthbert starring in One Big Happy, a sitcom about a lesbian (Cuthbert) and her straight male best friend (Zano) who become pregnant via artificial insemination right before he meets and quickly marries the love of his life (Brook).
Mr. Robinson (midseason)
Starring: Craig Robinson, Jean Smart, Ben Koldyke
Created by: Owen Ellickson (The Office); Showrunners: Mark and Robb Cullen (creators of Back in the Game)
Rolled over from last season at NBC, Mr. Robinson finds The Office‘s Craig Robinson at the center of his first sitcom. Robinson will play a struggling musician who takes a job as a substitute music teacher at a middle school. He discovers he’s passionate about teaching his students about music and butt heads with the school’s by-the-book principal (Jean Smart). Mr. Robinson was retooled after its initial 2013 pilot, with Mark and Robb Cullen replacing Owen Ellickson as showrunners and producer Greg Daniels departing the project.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (midseason)
Starring: Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess, Sara Chase, Lauren Adams
Created by: Tina Fey & Robert Carlock
NBC gave a rare straight to series order to Tina Fey’s first sitcom since 30 Rock last fall, buying 13 episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt outright before a pilot was even produced. Easily the least conventional sitcom of the new season, Kimmy Schmidt stars Ellie Kemper as an upbeat woman who is rescued from a religious cult and discovering the joys of her freedom in New York City, becoming friends and roommates with Titus, a gay aspiring Broadway actor who pays his bills by dressing as a robot in Times Square.
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Laurence Fishburne (recurring), Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahid, Miles Brown, Marcus Scribner, Caila Martin
Created by: Kenya Barris (The Game); Produced by: Laurence Fishburne, Larry Wilmore
Anthony Anderson plays the father in this family sitcom about a black man who becomes worried his children have assimilated too much and aren’t in touch with their cultural identity. Laurence Fishburne is playing Anderson’s father in a recurring role. Larry Wilmore was onboard as the show’s executive producer and showrunner but likely will be stepping down after last week’s news that he’s taking over for Stephen Colbert as host of Comedy Central’s 11:30 program in January.
Starring: Cristela Alonzo, Terri Hoyos, Roxana Ortega, Carlos Ponce, Andrew Leeds
Created by: Cristela Alonzo (Comedy Central Presents) & Kevin Hench (Last Man Standing)
Cristela pulled off an amazing Hail Mary by making it on next season’s schedule. ABC was developing the show, co-created by and starring standup Cristela Alonzo, last year but opted not to produce the pilot. The studio and production company took it upon themselves to produce a pilot themselves, with ABC’s blessing, filming a full-length pilot on the Last Man Standing set and using that show’s crew. The resulting pilot tested super high with audiences, and ABC ended up picking it up. The show itself follows a woman who takes an unpaid internship at a law firm, but her family doesn’t support her career.
Starring: Karen Gillan, John Cho, Allyn Rachel, Tim Peper, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, David Harewood
Created by: Emily Kapnek (creator of Suburgatory)
Like Galavant’s Dan Fogelman, Emily Kapnek is losing one ABC sitcom (Suburgatory) and gaining one this season. Her new show, Selfie, stars Dr. Who‘s Karen Gillan as a woman who is famous on Instagram but, after having a change of heart, hires a marketing guru (Cho) to teach her how to become less dependent on technology and live life offline.
Manhattan Love Story
Starring: Analeigh Tipton, Jake McDorman, Jade Catta-Preta, Nicolas Wright, Kurt Fuller, Chloe Wepper
Created by: Jeff Lowell (Two and a Half Men)
This season’s umpteenth romantic comedy, Manhattan Love Story follows Southern girl Dana (Tipton) who is set up on a date with Peter (McDorman), an oblivious guy who thinks he’s charming, who end up pursuing a relationship despite their first date not going well. The show has a gimmick in which we get to hear Dana and Peter’s inner thoughts throughout the whole series.
Starring: Joshua Sasse, Timothy Omundson, Vinnie Jones, Karen David, Mallory Jansen, Luke Youngblood
Created by: Dan Fogelman (creator of The Neighbors)
ABC canceled Dan Fogelman’s previous show, The Neighbors, last week, but they gave a series order to his next project, Galavant, a musical fairytale comedy. The show stars Joshua Sasse as Prince Galavant, who has become depressed and an alcoholic after being left by a woman he rescued but now returns to being a hero to save a kingdom. Probably the most ambitious comedy of the new season, Galavant will feature music and lyrics from Alan Menken and Glenn Slater (Tony nominees for The Little Mermaid) and will be shot in the UK.
Fresh Off the Boat (Midseason)
Starring: Randall Park, Constance Wu, Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen, Hudson Yang
Created by: Nahnatchka Khan (creator of Don’t Trust the B)
Nahnatchka Khan’s first show she’s created since Don’t Trust the B, Fresh Off the Boat is based on the book of the same name by Eddie Huang and follows a Taiwanese family in the 1990s who move to Orlando, Florida. Fresh Off the Boat is one of three ABC sitcoms (along with Cristela and Black-ish) that will be diversifying (and segregating) ABC’s comedy landscape this season.
Starring: Tyler Ritter, Jack McGee, Laurie Metcalf, Joey McIntyre, Jimmy Dunn, Kelen Coleman
Created by: Brian Gallivan (Happy Endings)
Rolled over from last season at CBS, The McCarthys finally made it to series this year. A multi-camera family sitcom loosely based on creator Brian Gallivan’s life, The McCarthys follows Ronny, the gay son (Ritter) of a sports-crazed Irish-Catholic family in Boston who decides to move out of the three-story house the family all shares together and strike out on his own.
The Odd Couple (midseason)
Starring: Matthew Perry, Tom Lennon, Georgia King, Lindsay Sloane, Sarah Baker, Wendell Pierce
Created by: Matthew Perry & Joe Keenan (Glee, Frasier)
The latest reimagining of Neil Simon’s classic 1965 play, The Odd Couple stars Matthew Perry and Tom Lennon this time around with Perry as slobbish messy Oscar Madison and Lennon as uptight neat freak Felix Unger. This is Matthew Perry’s second time co-creating a sitcom he’s starred in, following the short-lived ABC series Mr. Sunshine.
Starring: John Mulaney, Martin Short, Nasim Pedrad, Elliott Gould, Seaton Smith, Zack Pearlman
Created by: John Mulaney (SNL); Produced by: Lorne Michaels
After NBC passed on standup John Mulaney’s self-titled sitcom last year, Fox snatched it and ordered the pilot to series. John Mulaney plays a fictionalized younger version of himself, a standup comedian in New York who’s writing for a game show hosted by Lou Cannon (Short) and living with friends Jane (Pedrad) and Motif (Smith). A rare multi-camera sitcom from folks you’d expect to make a single-camera show, Mulaney could end up revitalizing three-camera studio audience shows. Fox has ordered 16 episodes of Mulaney and given it a cushy timeslot on Sunday nights after Family Guy, which means they have a lot of faith in it.
The Last Man on Earth (midseason)
Starring: Will Forte
Created by: Will Forte; Produced by: Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Will Forte is returning to television four years after he left SNL, with his very own sitcom. The Last Man on Earth finds Forte playing an average guy, Phil Miller, who in the year 2022, becomes the last human alive on earth and spends his days completely alone searching the earth for another human. Red hot movie directing duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 22 Jump Street) are producing the show and directing the pilot, and Forte even named his lead character after the two of them.
Voice cast: Nicholas Gonzalez, Alex Borstein, Judah Friedlander, Missi Pyle, Efren Ramirez
Created by: Mark Hentemann (Family Guy); Produced by: Seth MacFarlane
Seth MacFarlane continues his quest to have as many shows on Fox as he can at once with Bordertown, an animated comedy about two families, the Buckwalds and the Gonzalezes, living in a desert town near the U.S./Mexican border. Bud Buckwald is a border patrol agent, while the Gonzalez family are immigrants from south of the border. This seems like dicey territory for a MacFarlane-produced show, but showrunner/creator Mark Hentemann seems to be treating the subject matter sensitively and has hired Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the daily Latino comic strip “La Cucaracha,” and Gustavo Arellano, author of the book “Ask a Mexican!”, on as consulting producers.
Weird Loners (midseason)
Starring: Zachary Knighton, Becki Newton, Nate Torrence, Meera Rohit Kumbhani
Created by: Michael Weithorn (co-creator of The King of Queens)
Fox gave a six-episode straight to series order to Weird Loners, a comedy about four relationship-phobic people who are thrown into each other’s lives when they all wind up sharing a townhouse together and growing as humans.