On top of the seven drama pilots ABC ordered to series on Friday, the network also announced five comedy pilots that will be joining the likes of Modern Family on the roster next season. ABC's slate of new comedies features a trio of bona fide movie stars, including James Caan, Malin Akerman, and Rebel Wilson, as well as an ensemble comedy set in a bar and a family comedy set in the 1980s.
Let's take a look at ABC's comedy pickups:
- Back in the Game. Terry Gannon Jr. (Maggie Lawson) was an All Star Softball player until life threw her a couple curve balls: a baby, a lost college scholarship and a loser for a husband. After striking out on her own, Terry and her son Danny (Griffin Gluck) move in with her estranged father, Terry Sr. aka "The Cannon" (James Caan). The Cannon is an opinionated, beer-guzzling, ex-athlete who never quite made the cut as a single father or professional baseball player. As hard as Terry tries to keep Danny away from the sports-driven lifestyle of her youth, Tommy wants to play Little League. His stunning lack of baseball skills (he doesn't even know which hand the mitt goes on) makes him the laughing stock of the baseball field and his grandfather's living room. When Danny and a group of other athletically-challenged hopefuls fail to make the team, Danny's disappointment forces Terry to face her past. So when a wealthy neighbor volunteers to finance a team for the rejected kids, Terry reluctantly offers to coach the team of misfits. “Back In The Game” stars Maggie Lawson (“Psych”) as Terry, Jr., James Caan (“Las Vegas”) as Terry "The Cannon" Gannon, Sr., Lenora Crichlow (“Being Human,” “Fast Girls”) as Gigi, Griffin Gluck (“Private Practice”) as Danny, Ben Koldyke (“Big Love”) as Dick, Kennedy Waite (“I-Doll”) as Vanessa, J.J. Totah (“Jessie”) as Michael, Cooper Roth as David. “Back In The Game” was written by Mark and Robb Cullen (“Lucky,” “Las Vegas”), who also executive produce along with directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“Bad Santa,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love”) and Aaron Kaplan (“The Neighbors”). “She's Got Game” is from 20TH Century Fox Television/Kapital Entertainment.
- The Goldbergs. Before there were parenting blogs, trophies for showing up, and peanut allergies, there was a simpler time called the '80s. For geeky 11-year old Adam (Sean Giambrone) these were his wonder years and he faced them armed with a video camera to capture all the crazy. The Goldbergs are a loving family like any other, just with a lot more yelling. Mom Beverly (Wendi McClendon-Covey) is a classic "smother," an overbearing, overprotective matriarch who rules this brood with 100% authority and zero sense of boundaries. Dad Murray (Jeff Garlin) is gruff, hot-tempered and trying to parent without screaming. Sister Erica (Hayley Orrantia) is 17, hot, terrifying and not one to mess with. Barry (Troy Gentile) is 16, a grade A spaz with classic middle child syndrome. Adam (Sam Giambrone) is the youngest, a camera-wielding future director who's crushing on an older woman. Rounding out the family is beloved grandfather Al "Pops" Solomon (George Segal), the wild man of the clan, a shameless Don Juan who's schooling Adam in the ways of love. When Pops buys a new sports car and offers his Caddy to middle child Barry, it's enough to drive this already high-strung family to the brink of chaos. “The Goldbergs” stars Wendi McLendon-Covey (“Bridesmaids”) as Beverly, Jeff Garlin (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) as Murray, George Segal (“Just Shoot Me”) as Pops, Hayley Orrantia (“The X Factor”) as Erica, Sean Giambrone as Adam, and Troy Gentile (“Good Luck Chuck”) as Barry. “The Goldbergs” was written and executive produced by Adam F. Goldberg (“Breaking In,” “Fanboys”) and executive produced by Doug Robinson. The pilot was directed by Seth Gordon (“Identity Thief,” “Horrible Bosses”). “The Goldbergs” is from Adam Sandler's production company Happy Madison and is produced by Sony Pictures Television.
- Mixology. From Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, the writers behind “The Hangover,” “Mixology” is a high-concept single-camera comedy set in the world of a sexy Manhattan bar chronicling the exploits of singles in search of love — all over the course of one night. The young and trendy ensemble cast includes Kate Simses, Ginger Gonzaga, Blake Lee, Andrew Santino, Adam Campbell, Vanessa Lengies, Craig Frank, Alexis Carra, Sarah Bolger, and Adan Canto. Larry Charles (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) directed the pilot.
- Super Fun Night. Junior attorney Kimmie Boubier (Rebel Wilson) and her two best friends Helen-Alice (Liza Lapira) and Marika (Lauren Ash) have had a standing date every Friday night for the last 13 years. They even have a motto for what they call "Friday Night Fun Night": "Always together! Always inside!" However, Kimmie's recent promotion throws a monkey wrench into the tradition. Not only is she now working with her idol, "Lady Lawyer of the Year" Felicity Vanderstone (Kelen Coleman), but she meets a dashingly handsome British attorney, Richard Lovell (Kevin Bishop), who invites her to his party at a trendy club. Determined to spend time with Richard and heed Felicity's advice to network, Kimmie sets out to convince her friends to take Super Fun Night on the road. “Super Fun Night” stars Rebel Wilson (“Pitch Perfect,” ”Bridesmaids”) as Kimmie, Lauren Ash (“Lars and the Real Girl”) as Marika, Liza Lapira (“Don't Trust the B—in Apt. 23”) as Helen-Alice, Kelen Coleman (“The Newsroom”) as Felicity, Kevin Bishop (“Star Stories”) as Richard. “Super Fun Night” was written and executive produced by Rebel Wilson. Executive producers are Conan O'Brien, David Kissinger, and director John Riggi (“30 Rock”). “Super Fun Night” is from Conan O'Brien's production company, Conaco Prods and is produced by Warner Bros. Television.
- Trophy Wife. They say the third time's the charm and reformed party girl Kate (Malin Akerman) is hoping that's true when she becomes Pete's (Bradley Whitford) third wife. She fell into his arms (literally) at a karaoke bar and a year later, Kate's got an insta-family complete with three stepchildren and two ex-wives. Diane (Marcia Gay Harden) is ex-wife number one, an intense, over-achieving doctor and the mother of twin teenagers Hillary (Gianna LePera) and Warren (Ryan Scott Lee). Diane is quick to convey her withering disapproval of Kate's barely tapped maternal instinct. Ex-wife number two, Jackie (Michaela Watkins), is mother to adopted son, Bert (Albert Tsai), and can pull Pete's strings with her special blend of neurotic, new-ageyness. Juggling all this baggage is uncharted territory for Kate who finds support with her best friend Meg (Natalie Morales) a party-hearty singleton and the only woman Kate knows who has less experience with kids than she has. “Trophy Wife” stars Malin Akerman (“Suburgatory”) as Kate, Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing”) as Pete, Marcia Gay Harden (“Into the Wild,” “Damages”) as Diane, Michaela Watkins (“Saturday Night Live”) as Jackie, Natalie Morales (“90210”) as Meg, Ryan Scott Lee (“Super 8”) as Warren, Albert Tsai (“How I Met Your Mother”) as Bert, Gianna LePera (“Modern Family”) as Hillary. “Trophy Wife” is written and executive produced by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins and executive produced by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office”), produced by Malin Ackerman. The pilot was directed by Jason Moore (“Pitch Perfect,” “Avenue Q”), “Trophy Wife” is from ABC Studios.
All five of these comedies seem to have varying degrees of potential and appeal. I'm most interested in The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. Which ones will you be watching?