It’s more comedies from the comedy people and dramas from the drama people this week, which makes sense given that sticking with the tried-and-true is CBS’ entire reason for existing. The Hollywood Reporter announces that the network has picked up two pilots—a comedy from Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence and a drama from two former Grey’s Anatomy writers, Tony Phelan and Joan Rater.
The comedy, based on the life of comedian Tommy Johnagin, will feature the stand-up raising a family in his small Midwestern hometown. Along with executive producer Lawrence, the multi-camera sitcom’s script will be penned by Johnagin and Surviving Jack writers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker. The new drama, by contrast, will revolve around a “smart, chic, successful defense lawyer at a boutique firm who shockingly gets romantically involved with one of her clients, who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime.” Presumably these two shows offer all sorts of crossover potential—maybe’s Johnagin’s children can be visited by the wise-cracking client on the sitcom, and then on the drama, that same client could brutally murder them?
Should both pilots go to series, they will further strain their exec-producers’ already packed schedules. Lawrence currently oversees the TBS comedies Cougar Town and Ground Floor, as well as the NBC comedy Undateable. Phelan and Rater are consulting producers on the Tea Leoni drama Madame Secretary and have an overall deal with CBS Television Studios. Along with the upcoming “procedural” Supergirl and Gary Sinise’s Criminal Minds spinoff, this year’s new CBS shows are carrying on the network’s proud tradition of using the same ideas and people as years past, over and over, in an infinite feedback loop of sluggishly familiar entertainment. Which also nicely doubles as a motto for CBS.