NBC is making some strides with next season’s lineup. While its Thursday night comedy block continues to falter, the network has greenlighted a pilot for a half-hour comedy endeavor that is rolling with the title Bad Judge. The project is one of last year’s castoffs, but new life has been breathed into the project thanks to Kate Walsh’s attachment.
Bad Judge has actually been coming together for quite some time. About a year ago, NBC bought the project from Adam McKay and Will Ferrell’s production company and Anne Heche that seemed like a riff on the then-recent theatrical release Bad Teacher, except the NBC show would follow a criminal court judge who is also a very bad female. At the time, a competing project that was actually called Bad Teacher was in the process of being set up at CBS. While Bad Judge failed to gain traction, CBS eventually greenlighted Bad Teacher. It's expected to get a midseason premiere at the network, with Ari Graynor playing the titular role.
According to Deadline, the fact that Bad Teacher has been greenlighted wasn’t what stopped NBC last year. Instead, Bad Judge was apparently a late pitch and rumors that Walsh might attach herself to the project didn’t start happening until last spring. Now that she’s officially attached, things are looking up for the comedy project.
Walsh is one of those lucky TV actresses that is in high demand, thanks to her work on Grey’s Anatomy and its spinoff Private Practice, the latter of which she headlined until the show ended last January. A comedy might not seem like the route Walsh would choose to take next, but she has worked with Ferrell and McKay in the past via Funny or Die, and she can be a funny actress. She's also had experience with sitcoms in the past, taking extensive gigs on both Norm and The Drew Carey Show before hitting it big as a dramatic actress. More recently, Walsh wrapped up shooting the Fargo limited series for FX.
In the Bad Judge pilot, the actress will play a criminal court judge who just so happens to like to deviate from the rules set down by society in her free time. The character is also described as “hard living” and “sexually unapologetic." So, she's a big partier that's likely to wreak havoc in the evenings while hopefully maintaining at least some control over the courtroom during the day. That sounds like a pretty wild TV character, but I'm intrigued to see what the creative team will do with the premise, and I'm dying to see if NBC can get out of the current comedy rut the network has found itself in.
Bad Judge still has some work to do before it gets picked up by the network, It does join the Tina Fey/ Robert Carlock project as one of the earliest projects on the development slate over at NBC. At this point, the Fey/ Carlock project is in a little better shape, however, as it has already been given a 13-episode order at the network.