From death to alcoholism, CBS and ABC both picked up a couple of comedy projects that will attempt to mine human misery and tragedy for laughs.
Reuniting the creative team behind a pilot that was in serious contention for a series pickup last season, CBS has purchased an ensemble comedy that is co-executive produced by Mike & Molly star Melissa McCarthy and her husband, actor-writer Ben Falcone, who will also co-write with fellow actor Larry Dorf. Entitled Wake Up Call, the series follows a group of friends whose lives are turned upside-down when the phrase "'til death do us part" gains meaning far sooner than expected.
As was the case on the previous project, Falcone is not scheduled to star, but he ended up acting in the last pilot after all. However, this year Falcone is attached to TV Land's single-camera pilot I'm Not Dead Yet in the lead role. An Emmy Award winner for her starring role on Mike & Molly, McCarthy is nominated again this year, and also earned a guest-star nomination with her turn as host of Saturday Night Live.
ABC picked up a half-hour spec script for a workplace comedy called Party Girls from a crew of movie folks. Written by feature film scribe Michael Diliberti (30 Minutes Or Less) and directed and executive produced by the Crazy, Stupid, Love team of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, the series would tell the story of Maddy Duke, a party planner who enjoys the events she plans a bit too much, which I presume means she gets sloshed at all of her parties.
As a result, Maddy's company experiences a downturn in business and she must reign in her wild-and-crazy behavior. Meanwhile, her more conservative CFO—named Anne—does her level best to keep Maddy and the rest of her misfit employees in line. In addition to the 2011 romantic dramedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, Requa and Ficarra have 2009's I Love You Phillip Morris, 2005's Bad News Bears remake, and 2003's Bad Santa on their collective resume. Party Girls is also executive produced by Jack Black's Electric Dynamite company.
Based on the descriptions and the people behind the projects, I am most looking forward to Party Girls if it can be made in the same vein as Bad Santa. How do you feel about these pickups?