The 10/90 episode order model leveraged by FX with “Anger Management” may soon be coming to the Peacock.
NBC is eying a new comedy from Roseanne Barr and Linda Wallem, according to Deadline, and plans to order the project straight to series under the 10/90 model. Universal TV would be producing the project. NBC confirmed the project development and model consideration to Variety.
Under this type of series order, 10 episodes of a program — typically a half-hour cable comedy like “Anger Management” — are ordered upfront. Should those 10 produce satisfactory ratings, a 90-episode back order rolls in, leaving the program with a guaranteed 100-episode run ripe for off-network syndie deals. Model is also effective at cutting down back-end costs.
Lionsgate’s Debmar-Mercury is the distributor behind the model, and has used it not only for “Anger Management,” but also for Tyler Perry laffers and FX’s “Saint George” as well as an untitled Kelsey Grammer/Martin Lawrence project. The 10/90 model has yet to be tested in broadcast, and it would be Universal TV’s first go at it.
The deal paradigm is not without its tenuous aspects that could be nerve-wrecking for risk-averse broadcast nets like NBC.
While FX’s “Anger Management” 90-seg back order seemed like a success when it was announced last year, the program has found itself in perilous waters as stars Charlie Sheen and Selma Blair feuded until Blair ankled the skein. With dozens upon dozens of episodes left to produce in the back order, such casting drama can be daunting when tasked with such a long lensing period.
What’s more, NBC has had trouble generating comedy hits, including the cancellation of “Animal Practice,” “Whitney,” “Go On,” “Guys with Kids” and “1600 Penn” this past season. Even if the initial 10 segs perform well enough in the ratings for the Peacock, a 90-episode followup order is a serious investment during a time when the comedy turnover rate is high.
As it is, broadcast comedy mainstays “Community,” “Parks and Rec” and even ABC’s “Modern Family” have yet to cross the 100-episode mark during their tenures. In a rapidly evolving TV and ratings landscape, a 100-episode order — on broadcast especially — is difficult to conceive of. But, for those viewers who want reassurance that a show they enjoy will stick around for longer than merely a season or two, the 10/90 model on broadcast may be just what the doctor (and network) ordered.