…Which means that at least one of their 5,427 other sitcom pilots ain’t gonna make it to the air because you don’t get into bed with Michael J. Fox just to kick him out before he even performs.
(EDITED TO ADD: NBC has sent out a press release confirming that it is committed to 22 episodes now, before even shooting a pilot.)
Ahh…okay, so that’s a bit of a stretch. Credit for trying? C’mon!
NBC Wins Michael J. Fox’s New Sitcom After Dramatically Outbidding Rivals – by Josef Adalian
Thirty years after Family Ties debuted on NBC, the Peacock has agreed to fork over a whole bunch of sha-la-la-la in order to win the rights tothat Michael J. Fox comedy project Vulture first told you about last week. Facing intense competition from other networks, Peacock chief Robert Greenblatt wooed Fox by offering him and Sony Pictures Television something virtually unheard of these days in TV: A commitment to make and air a full season of 22 episodes of the show, even before a pilot is filmed.
NBC has also made producers certain guarantees about how the single-camera comedy will be scheduled and marketed, though given the upfront commitment involved, you can expect NBC to start hyping the show any minute now. Vulture also hears that the network has agreed to film the single-camera comedy in New York City, which is also where Fox’s last full-time TV gig, Spin City, was shot. Landing Fox is a big “get” for Greenblatt: It’s a project whose success or failure could very well prove to be a defining factor in his ultimate success or failure in reshaping NBC’s primetime fortunes. No surprise, then, that our spies say all four nets were in the hunt for Fox, with CBS very much in the mix right until the last minute. ABC and Fox were out of contention earlier, insiders say. ABC’s inability to woo Fox has to be seen as a major defeat for network chief Paul Lee, since the exec holds what might have been considered the trump card in any negotiations: the 9:30 p.m. Wednesday timeslot following Modern Family.
Fox’s half-hour, expected to be a family comedy inspired by the actor’s own life, seems to be a perfect fit with MF and ABC’s overall brand. And yet, somehow, Greenblatt was better able to schmooze and impress Sony and Fox, convincing them that he would give Fox and the show’s writers plenty of creative freedom and ridiculous levels of marketing support.
We hope you’ll read on, but we’re stopping here. This business about Robert Greenblatt giving “the show’s writers plenty of creative freedom” is the kind of rare sunshine we like to bask in. (Another terrible metaphor? Damn!)