ABC is looking to two “Friends” alums for its early crop of comedies in contention for the 2016-17 season.
The network has picked up pilots for “Pearl” from Andrew Reich and “Speechless” from Scott Silveri. Reich worked on “Friends” from 1998 to 2004, while Silveri — who also created comeback vehicles for “Friends” favorites, Matthew Perry’s “Go On” and Matt LeBlanc’s “Joey” — was on the hit sitcom for the same years.
Hailing from ABC Studios, “Pearl” is about a larger-than-life family matriarch who finds out she has cancer and becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies. The single-camera comedy will be written and exec produced by Reich.
“Speechess” will be written by Silveri who will exec produce with Jake Kasdan (“Fresh Off the Boat,” “New Girl”) and Melvin Mar (“Fresh Off the Boat”). The comedy is about a family with a special-needs child that is good at dealing with the challenges it faces and excellent at creating new ones. The single-camera laffer comes from 20th Century Fox, marking a project from an outside studio for ABC — something expected to be less typical this pilot season, as networks have become more privy to projects they co-own.
“Pearl” and “Speechless” join the one other comedy so far on ABC’s 2016-17 pilot slate, “Downward Dog.” On the drama side, ABC recently ordered a pilot for murder trial-themed “The Jury” from Carol Mendelsohn, John Ridley’s female detective-centric “Presence” and “Agents of SHIELD” spinoff “Marvel’s Most Wanted,” which ABC boss Paul Lee just confirmed this past weekend, following Variety‘s original report last year.
The double pilot pickup today indicates the start of an early pilot season, which has already kicked into high gear across the broadcast networks.
For detailed information on all of this year’s pilots, see Variety’s Pilot Scorecard.