NBC pushes back ‘Parentood’

Maura Tierney's illness delays drama to midseason

NBC is pushing frosh drama “Parenthood” to midseason, due to star Maura Tierney’s illness.

NBC and Tierney’s reps are declining to elaborate on what is ailing Tierney. But producers Universal Media Studios and Imagine TV have opted to postpone the start of the show’s production by eight weeks “due to medical evaluation” that Tierney is undergoing.

“The top priority for NBC, Universal Media Studios and Imagine Television is the well-being of Ms. Tierney,” the network said in a statement. “We are unable to release further details and ask that you respect her privacy at this time.”

Peacock will instead move up the launch of hospital drama “Mercy,” which had been slated for midseason, to fall.

“Mercy” will likely air in the Wednesday 8 p.m. slot that had been set for “Parenthood,” although the net may also mull other schedule tweaks.

The schedule change means NBC must now launch both its medical-themed dramas in the fall. “Mercy” revolves around emergency room nurses, while “Trauma” centers on emergency triage units.

Meanwhile, with its shift to midseason, “Parenthood” may benefit from a big marketing push during the Winter Olympics.

The “Mercy” team already had been told to start prepping its show early, in case NBC needed the show before midseason. Nonetheless, the turn of events caught “Mercy” off guard. The show is accelerating its prep time and planning to start production, which had been set for the end of August.

Like “Parenthood,” “Mercy” comes from Universal Media Studios; BermanBraun also is attached. Liz Heldens, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts are exec producers.

In “Parenthood,” Tierney plays a cash-strapped single mother who moves with her teenage kids back into her childhood home. Show, based on the 1989 movie, also stars Peter Krause, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepard, Bonnie Bedelia, Monica Potter, Erika Christensen and Sarah Ramos.

The set of “Parenthood” was already rocked last spring, when NBC exec Nora O’Brien died while taking part in the pilot shoot. Production on “Parenthood” was shut down for two days.

Jason Katims exec produces “Parenthood,” along with Imagine’s David Nevins and Brian Grazer.

Tierney most recently starred on “ER.” Her credits also include “NewsRadio.”

This isn’t the first time a frosh series has been delayed due to a cast member illness. In one recent case, Fox was forced to pull the sitcom “Schimmel” off its fall 2000 schedule because of star Robert Schimmel’s battle with cancer. Schimmel eventually went into remission, but his show was ultimately scrapped.

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