Fox Greenlights Middle Eastern Family Comedy Pilot Starring Nasim Pedrad as Teenage Boy

Nasim Pedrad Muslim Pilot
Courtesy of Fox

Fox has ordered a pilot for “Chad: An American Boy,” a comedy which will star “SNL” alum Nasim Pedrad as a 14-year-old boy in a Middle Eastern Family, Variety has learned.

The comedy follows a young teenage boy, played by Pedrad, in the throes of adolescence who is tasked with being the man of the house, which leaves him with all the responsibilities of being an adult without any of the perks.

“I’m thrilled to be able to portray a Middle Eastern family not working for or against Jack Bauer on network TV,” remarked Pedrad, who also co-wrote the script. “Also, a big thank you to Fox for understanding that my true essence is that of an awkward and misguided 14-year-old boy.”

The pilot marks a huge step in diversity for Fox — and broadcast television.

In pitching the project, Pedrad, who is drawing upon her upbringing and heritage for the pilot, stressed her desire to portray a realistic Iranian American family living in the U.S., representing not only the Iranian American community, but also offering an authentic portrayal of the larger immigrant experience. Sources close to the show say the series aims to be relatable to all teenagers who experience struggles with fitting in.

ABC has made strides in diversifying their slate with two comedies revolving around non-white families: “Black-ish” and “Fresh Off the Boat,” which like “Chad,” also deals with a young boy feeling like a misfit amidst American culture.

Insiders say religion is not a big element in the potential series’ storyline, but Pedrad’s pilot greenlight comes after President Barack Obama’s recent comments during a mosque visit earlier this month when he called for more television shows with Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security, saying, “It’s not that hard to do … There was a time when there were no black people on television. You can tell good stories while still representing a reality of our communities.”

“Chad: An American Boy” hails from 20th Century Fox and co-scribes Pedrad and Rob Rosell. Michael Rotenberg and Dave Becky will exec produce the single-cam, half hour comedy, along with Jason Winer who will also direct the pilot.

The project has been a hot property since the beginning of pilot season when the script hit the desks of Fox execs, who sources say immediately jumped at it. The pilot comes following Pedrad’s deal made with Fox in early 2015 to create and star in a show.

Pedrad starred in Fox’s “Scream Queens” and recurs on “New Girl.” She starred in the network’s short-lived comedy “Mulaney,” after exiting “Saturday Night Live” where she gained much popularity for her satirical portrayal of Kim Kardashian, among other impressions. She is repped by CAA, 3 Arts and Warren Dern.

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  1. RV says:

    Here it is at last: the long-desired Muslim family situation comedy that is going to cure “Islamophobia” by showing racist, ignorant, xenophobic Americans that hey, look, Muslims are just like us. Katie Couric called for it during the Ground Zero Mosque controversy, saying that what America needed was a Muslim Cosby Show. Now that Bill Cosby is so resoundingly discredited, Reza Aslan, with his typical moronic arrogance, updated the demand and called for a Muslim “All in the Family,” apparently not realizing that the central character of that show was a butt of jokes and an object of ridicule. But clearly he meant the same thing: if Americans could just see Muslims outside of the context of jihad terrorism, they would love them, and “Islamophobia” would evanesce. And then Barack Obama said last week at the Islamic Society of Baltimore that “our TV shows should have Muslim characters that are unrelated to national security.”

    Now we have it. Will it work? Will it make Americans drop their concerns about jihad terror? Unlikely. The whole idea that Muslims are threatened, harassed and discriminated against in the U.S. is a creation of the Islamic advocacy industry, which knows well how well it pays to be a victim in the U.S. today. Those groups — Hamas-linked CAIR, ISNA, MPAC and the rest — will still need to play the victimhood game even while this sitcom is running, and after its run has ended. So we will continue to see fake hate crimes and claims of discrimination, and the failure of this show to stem the tide of “Islamophobia” will be touted as a reason why Muslims deserve special privileges and the further weakening of counter-terror measures.

    Meanwhile, how a 34-year-old woman is going to be convincing playing a 14-year-old boy is an open question, but whether or not Nasim Pedrad can pull it off, it is noteworthy that this Muslim sitcom will feature a 14-year-old boy who has to serve as the man of the house. That suggests that it will not feature the individual who is the center and dominant figure of most real Muslim families: an adult male. That makes it likely that the show will not depict in any remotely realistic manner the way women are treated in observant Muslim homes — and given the purpose of this project, that is not surprising at all.

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