College-Set Tina Fey Comedy Heads Straight To Series At Fox
Earlier this week, we learned that Tina Fey was teaming with former 30 Rock showrunner Robert Carlock for a TV comedy in development at NBC, putting the writer/actor/producer back with the network that helped put her on the map, between, Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock. It looks like Fey's determined to keep busy on the small screen, as she has another TV project in the works, and this one, which also involves Carlock in addition to 30 Rock's Matt Hubbard, is going straight to series at Fox.
The comedy doesn't have a title yet, but it's reportedly a multi-camera comedy that takes place at a women's college that's just started admitting men for the first time. Fox apparently isn't waiting around to sample the merchandise. THR says there was a multiple-network bidding war for this one, which may explain Fox's eagerness to bypass the pilot stage and send this project straight to series. NBC was another network said to be involved in trying to get their hands on that one. Hubbard is set to write the half-hour project, as well as executive produce. Fey, Carlock and David Miner are also on board to executive produce.
As mentioned, Fey and Carlock are also teaming up for an NBC comedy. That one is set on Fire Island and centers on a woman who attempts to reconnect with her father. There's no word on whether or not the NBC project is single or multi-camera, but it's said to be in the vein of Cheers (multi-camera), and given that the Fox series is multi-camera, I'm inclined to wonder if that's the direction Fey and Carlock are leaning with their upcoming projects, which is curious, considering 30 Rock was a single-camera comedy.
Here's the thing. On one hand, neither Fox nor NBC have had all that much success on the multi-camera front in recent years. Most of their big comedies are single-camera, while efforts to get a multi-camera comedy to take off haven't worked out so well (RIP Guys with Kids, Whitney, I Hate My Teenage Daughter). With that said, even their most successful single-camera comedies aren't making a dent in the ratings by comparison to CBS, and as you may be aware, CBS comedies - The Big Bang Theory, 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, etc - tend to be multi-camera set-ups. So it's not especially difficult to see why the networks would want to tap into the viewership that's not averse to the laugh-tracky chuckles of a studio audience. Plus, multi-camera comedies are said to be cheaper and faster to produce than the single-camera sitcoms, though I suppose that varies. I can't imagine writing talent like Tina Fey comes cheap.
As for the premise of the Fox college-set comedy, it sounds a little like familiar territory for Fey, when we consider her recent film Admission, which had her playing a college admissions officer. Of course, Fey starred in that film and according to THR, she has no plans to star in this new Fox series, which is unfortunate. But if she's piling up the writer projects, it's not all that surprising that she isn't looking to add screen-time to her presumably busy schedule.
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