Bernie Mac back for new show

Fox an 'Under' achiever

Bernie Mac is reuniting with Fox, signing on to star in a new laffer from “Drew Carey Show” creator Bruce Helford.

Half-hour — tentatively titled “Starting Under” — comes from Warner Bros. TV, where earlier this summer Helford renewed his studio vows, sealing a hefty new two-year overall deal.

Fox scored the comedy after a fierce bidding war. Net gave a substantial series commitment to the untitled laffer (believed to be seven episodes), making it one of the biggest — if not the biggest — comedy deals of the now-suspended development season.

Deal was hammered out late Friday, making it the last major pilot pact before pencils went down early Monday and a writers strike began.

“I’ve been a huge Bernie Mac fan forever and felt we needed to bring that star back to TV,” said Fox Entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly.

Multicamera sitcom will star Mac as a large, opinionated guy (not unlike himself in that respect) who winds up divorced and living with his introverted twentysomething son. What’s more, he also winds up working for his son.

Helford will exec produce, along with his Mohawk shingle prexy Deb Oppenheimer. Andy Ackerman is also set as a director-exec producer on the pilot; Mac will serve as a producer.

“Bruce constructed a really clean construction, a solid vehicle for Bernie,” Reilly said. “And he doesn’t have it all riding on Bernie’s shoulder. There’s a great twist of a father-son relationship there, too. I have to hand it to Bruce — he nailed it.”

Reilly said he’d been chasing Mac for some time and even tried to get into business with the former “Bernie Mac Show” star earlier this season.

Mac’s recent credits include the features “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Transformers” and “Pride.” He spent five seasons as the star of “Bernie Mac” and is also well known for his standup career as one of the Original Kings of Comedy.

As for Helford, the scribe is walking the picket line but released a statement: “I can’t wait for the strike to be over so I can start working with Bernie Mac.”

Reup with Helford was a no-brainer for Warner Bros. TV, where Helford has exec produced skeins such as “George Lopez,” “Nikki” and “Freddie” in addition to “Drew Carey.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading