The series had previously been in contention at Fox and is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. Bell also stars in the series alongside Dax Shepard. In the series, a newlywed couple’s (Bell, Shepard) plan to ditch big city living for a simpler life in Nebraska doesn’t go as expected. It will air in 2019 and has received a six-episode order.
“Bell and Shepard headline a stellar cast in this hilarious take on a classic fish-out- of- water story that we found irresistible,” said Karey Burke, the newly-minted president of ABC Entertainment.
Meriwether and Bell are both executive producers on the series as well along with Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar, Shepard, and Katherine Pope. Bell also directed the pilot.
Meriwether currently has the single-camera comedy “Single Parents” at ABC, which is also produced by 20th TV and ABC Studios, with the show having been picked up for a full season. Both Meriwether and Bell are also currently under overall deals at 20th TV, which will become part of Disney following the Fox-Disney merger.
In addition to passing on “Bless This Mess,” Variety has also learned that Fox has opted not to pick up the shows “Dan the Weatherman” starring Thomas Lennon as well as “Mean Jean,” which hailed from Rob McElhenney and Rob Rosell. The former show was developed at Fox last year and was said to be very well-received before the network decided to redevelop it this year. “Mean Jean” was picked up with a pilot order off-cycle back in May.
The move comes as Fox has scaled back its scripted series orders in recent years. This fall, the network launched only three new series: the revival of “Last Man Standing” and new multi-cam comedies “Rel” and “The Cool Kids.” Fox will debut the new dramas “The Passage” and “Proven Innocent” at midseason.
The network recently struck a five-year deal for the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” and will begin airing WWE’s “SmackDown Live” beginning in 2019.