It seems CBS is on a shopping spree for comedy pilots. This comes on the heels of the nominal success of the series premiere of Rob Schneider’s new project ¡Rob!. The broadcast network bought two sitcom deals a piece for Martin Lawrence and Mike & Molly‘s Melissa McCarthy, who scored an Emmy for her work on the aforementioned CBS show and became a standout star after her scene-stealing performance in Bridesmaids opposite Kristen Wiig. A pilot was also ordered from The Muppets co-writer, Nick Stoller.
The recent McCarthy project is an untitled half-hour script by Larry Dorf (MadTV) and McCarthy’s husband Ben Falcone about a middle-aged man living at home with his parents. This deal comes four months after CBS ordered a pilot from the married comedic duo about (gasp) a woman in her mid-40s who has a midlife crisis.
Martin Lawrence’s return to television centers less around the Bad Boys actor’s age and rather places him in situations with children, not unlike his work in Rebound where he coaches an adolescent basketball team. In a script from Larry Wilmore (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), Lawrence plays a single man who becomes a foster parent to several kids. The other script comes from Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production company where Lawrence is a family man with annoyingly wealthy in-laws.
Writer and director Nick Stoller and 20th Century Fox TV landed a greenlight from CBS for a sitcom. The single-camera comedy, loosely based on his real-life experiences, revolves around a broken-hearted guy who now has to work one cubicle away from his ex.
It seems that CBS is eager to add to its comedy line-up, which includes the ultra-successful Two and a Half Men, 2 Broke Girls, and, of course, Mike & Molly. McCarthy seems to be a safe bet for CBS, since they’re obviously familiar with her work. Lawrence brings a diversified audience and a different look to the current landscape of CBS sitcoms. This falls in line with ¡Rob¡, a show about a family of Mexican Americans. Stoller’s show would be a shift for the network, though. The single-camera concept has not worked well for CBS in the past (Worst Week, Welcome to the Captain). But, it appears CBS may be willing to take a risk in the Fall with something different.
We can expect many more comedy buys from CBS as we slowly roll up for pilot season. Kudos to CBS for mixing things up, as it is usually trying something new that brings about amazing television. But here’s what I suggest: A mix of the concepts: Martin Lawrence is recently divorced from Melissa McCarthy, and now has to raise 7 foster children with her– all shot with one camera.