Call it the unvertically integrated net: Viacom-owned UPN has ordered four new comedies for its fall schedule — all from Warner Bros. Television.
On the drama side, “Angel” co-creator David Greenwalt has been tapped to serve as showrunner of UPN’s lone hour pickup: “Jake 2.0.,” a sci-fi-tinged actioner from scribe/exec producer Silvio Horta. Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo are also exec producers on the skein, which comes from Viacom and Roundtable Entertainment.
Over at UPN sister web CBS, which announces its sked today, execs were keeping a tight lid on the Eye sked.
But there was solid buzz that David E. Kelley’s “Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.” was headed for a Wednesday slot, perhaps at 10 p.m. It likely would be preceded by a new comedy block at 9 p.m., with “60 Minutes II” kicking off the night at 8.
Drama “Cold Cases” seemed a good fit for Fridays (perhaps with “JAG” spinoff “NCIS”), while “Joan of Arcadia” would make sense on Saturdays or Sundays. “Street Boss” also seemed likely for Saturday (or Fridays if the Eye moves “Hack”).
Frosh laffer “Still Standing” will be back, while negotiations were under way to bring back “Becker” for midseason.
As for UPN, the laffer buys indicate that execs are planning to seriously up the yuks quotient this fall, building upon the net’s successful Monday night comedy block. All four of UPN’s current comedies are expected to return, leading to speculation the net will try a four-comedy block on Tuesday or Friday nights.
Net execs have said they want to broaden the appeal of UPN’s comedies, building on their already solid urban appeal. New laffers seem to offer a mix of genres, from family comedies to more outrageous fare.
The comedies ordered for fall are:
- “All of Us” (WBTV/Overbrook), which stars Duane Martin as a family man in a half-hour inspired by the life of skein’s exec producers, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.
- “The Opposite Sex” (WBTV/Greenblatt-Janollari), a romantic laffer featuring rapper Eve as a clothing designer.
- “Rock Me Baby” (WBTV/Flame TV), which revolves around twentysomethings adjusting to parenthood.
- “The Mullets” (WBTV/Tannenbaum Co.), a redneck-themed laffer that’s business up front and a party in the back.
Greenlights for the comedy quartet continue WBTV’s strong showing this week landing shows on the air. In addition to supplying the WB with all of its new scripted fare, studio has skeins headed to ABC, Fox and CBS; it also secured a key renewal from NBC for frosh laffer “Good Morning, Miami.”
As for “Jake 2.0,” skein revolves around a National Security Agency agent who’s implanted with computer chips. Newly tapped showrunner Greenwalt most recently was exec producer on ABC’s “Miracles.” He spent three years as exec producer on “Angel,” which he co-created with Joss Whedon, and several seasons on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Greenwalt, repped by Bob Gumer of Kaplan-Stahler-Gumer Agency, also created the short-lived but critically hailed Fox drama “Profit.”
No word yet on the fate on new drama “Platinum”; “Twilight Zone” won’t be back. UPN is expected to keep its movie night, possibly with more urban-themed pics.
UPN unveils its fall sked to advertisers Thursday.