News Briefs: Danny McBride Is Creating and Starring in a New High School Comedy at HBO

By Tim Surette

May 29, 2014


... Danny McBride and Jody Hill, the creators of HBO's Eastbound and Down, are returning to the pay cable network with a new comedy called Vice Principals. It's about vice principals at a high school, and yes, McBride will play one of them. HBO has ordered 18 episodes, but hasn't decided how many seasons those episodes will comprise. [HBO via press release]


... The CBS comedies Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher have been pulled from the network's schedule, which isn't really a big deal because they've already been canceled. This news just means that CBS isn't letting them finish out their seasons in primetime; taking their place will be repeats of Mom and The Millers, two freshman shows that did get renewed. The network has not announced any plans to air the remaining episodes of Friends With Better Lives and Bad Teacher, so fire up that fanfic and let your imagination run wild! [Deadline]

... Chelsea Handler has marked her calendar for a break-up date with E!, and has officially announced the end of her late-night talk show Chelsea Lately. A live series finale will air on August 26, capping off a month-long celebration of Chelsea Lately's seven-year run on the network. In other words, the vodka is probably already flying off the shelves. Where Handler will go next has been the subject much speculation; networks like Comedy Central and FX are obvious possibilities, and Netflix is rumored to be courting the loudmouthed comedian. Where would you like to see her end up? A major network? A cable show? In a ditch? Voice your opinion in the comments! [E! via press release]

... LeVar Burton is using the crowdfunding website Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow into schoolrooms and onto the internet to help kids learn to read and enjoy books. Since it launched earlier today, the campaign has already reached its million-dollar goal with 34 days left, so you can go ahead and not donate and still reap the rewards. Err, I mean, you should totally donate! For the kids! Donate now! Troy Barnes would. [Kickstarter]

... Summer ratings are everyone's favorite kind of ratings! NBC's America's Got Talent returned on Tuesday to 11.9 million viewers and a 3.0 rating among the 18-to-49 crowd, which wasn't too far off from last year's numbers. The network also premiered The Night Shift, a new medical drama that Cory liked more than he thought he would, and it didn't bomb like we all expected it to. 7.8 million viewers tuned in, which was good for a 1.6 rating, making it the second-biggest summer drama debut in the last four years behind last summer's Under the Dome on CBS. [TV Line]

... Nick at Nite is adding the full-series runs of a trio of comedies for all your bleary-eyed late-night-rerun needs. How I Met Your MotherEverybody Loves Raymond, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will air on the syndicated specialist beginning this fall with HIMYM. Go buy a three-gallon bucket of ice cream and park yourself on the couch! [Deadline]

... E! has passed on its pilot Songbyrd, a drama about a songwriter named Lauren Byrd. [Deadline]


... OMG OMG OMG Hayden Panettiere is MAYBE pregnant! The Nashville star is reportedly with child thanks to husband Vladimir Klitschko, a heavyweight boxer who weighs about 10 Hayden Panettieres. For the sake of Hayden's anatomy, let's hope the baby takes after mommy. As for Nashville, Juliette Barnes pregnant? YES PLEASE. [US Weekly]


... Actress Stacey Dash, who you know as Dionne from the rich-girl documentary Clueless, is going to be a "cultural commentator" for Fox News in a decision that I have been assured is not at all a joke. Dash's political views lean conservative, and she publicly endorsed Mitt Romney during his presidential campaign in 2012, which drew some backlash because she's African-American. What a country we live in! She also appeared in Playboy, but no one complained about that. [Variety]


... Bill Lawrence, the creator of Scrubs and the upcoming NBC comedy Undateable, went on a standup comedy tour with four of the stars of Undateable and recounted what happened in a tour diary. He discusses what it's like to launch a network sitcom these days, and it doesn't sound fun. [Grantland]


... The Critics' Choice Awards have announced their nominations, and any awards show that puts Bert from Trophy Wife (Albert Tsai) in the same category as Tony Hale from Veep is okay with me. 

... Kaitlin watched a bunch of Playing House and it made her realize that TV lacks strong female friendships.

... I reviewed Tuesday's episode of Fargo, which is turning onto one hell of a show with a very impressive first season. Martin Freeman deserves many awards for his acting abilities. 

... Should you watch Bill Lawrence's new multi-camera sitcom Undateable? Kaitlin says maybe

... We finally have a real trailer for FX's The Strain, and it's pretty scary! 

... Hulu is in talks to make #sixseasonsandamovie happen by reviving Community for Season 6.

... Watch this new four-minute trailer for The CW's ridiculous Jane the Virgin to see Jane become Jane the Artificially Inseminated.

  • Comments (21)
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  • hockeyrick May 31, 2014

    Undateable hits my gag reflex!

  • mrjimmyjames May 30, 2014

    Chelsea Handler made a huge mistake by waiting this long to go to another network. She had an offer by ABC years ago. Now it's too late; none of the networks seem to be jumping to get her. And for whatever reason she seems to be on the decline as far as popularity is concerned (even though I still think she's hilarious).

  • mrjimmyjames May 30, 2014

    Wonder what Fox News viewers would think if an anchor mentioned Dash's appearance in Playboy? I'd love to see the look on their faces.

  • Loooooooooooost May 29, 2014

    YES!!! As for Stacey Dash... still smoking.

  • EsmeBuffay May 29, 2014

    Why would they get on her case for supporting someone just because that person wasn't the same race as her and someone that was was vying for the same position? I mean, that's like the definition of racism, isn't it, making decisions or forming opinions on someone solely because of their race? The people that said that should count their lucky stars that not everybody things the way they do otherwise Obama never would have been president to begin with. Honestly, people can be so backwards sometimes it's mind boggling.

  • stanking May 29, 2014

    Silly Esme. It's only racism if white Republicans do it. Duh!

  • Taccado May 29, 2014

    If Hayden's baby has its father's boxing genes, it will be hammering her uterus from the inside like a boxing bag. Hopefully the pregnancy doesn't end in a similar chestburster scene like Alien.

  • Taccado May 29, 2014

    One thing that irkes me in Bill Lawrence's account of how the show came to be is this: "We wanted to populate the world with stand-up comics, because they know how to vibe off a crowd, ad-lib, and make material stronger than what’s written." Why would he think that's a good thing? Acting is different from stand-up comedy and that's something a lot of stand-up comedians have had to painfully learn after miserably failing in front of a camera. Stand-up comedians might have a natural knack for ad-libbing, but that does not mean they know how to act, and it shows regardless of how good they are at coming up with jokes. They also need to deliver the jokes while acting instead of like during stand-up. I much more favour real (comedy) actors. They know how to deliver lines and react to other actors, even though they might not know how to come up with jokes themselves. Why would Lawrence be so delusional to think that a bunch of stand-up comedians together is a brilliant idea? It might be, but his reasoning for his claim seems weak.

    Also, it's like he has already given up:

    "Ultimately, Undateable is just a throwback sitcom about a group of friends who are all stuck in a rut. Nothing really out of the box. But they love each other, and that feels real. And it’s funny. I don’t know if the show will work or not."
    Is that how to set up a sitcom? Did they sit down at the planning table and decide to do "just a throwback sitcom"? No wonder there are so few sitcoms with original ideas around. And the fact that he hires stand-up comedians to "make material stronger than what’s written" doesn't tell much about his confidence in his own material. If his writing was strong, he could hire real actors to deliver good jokes without feeling the need to have the actors ad-lib. As Lawrence himself says: "Old hits are “down” and all the new “hot” comedies are getting ratings in the 1s. These are numbers that would get you immediately cancelled three years ago. TV has changed." It doesn't seem like Undateable will go against this tide.

  • JT_Kirk May 29, 2014

    If you don't read that Bill Lawrence article, you are both missing out on a talented writer craft a great story, and an excellent lesson on how the TV sausage is made. Do you want to know how the TV sausage is made? Most people don't care, some people don't want to know, but I think if you are invested in how TV works you have to know how they get those proverbial chopped-up pig ani into the sheep intestines in order to see what next year's sausage will taste like and whether you should eat it or get as far away from it as possible.

    Lawrence is both experienced and painfully naive in the article due to the poison of "hope". Never is that more obvious than when he believes NBC head Bob Greenblatt's claim that the network gives any shits about a late-May show in a year-round cycle, that's utter falsehood and he has to know it in his heart, he has to see sitcoms launching out of place and watch them crash and burn even as they do well simply because they launched at that off timing. Cable can launch whenever because it doesn't have to answer to national affiliates.

    Ugh, how does a show set in Detroit have just one non-white face in the starring cast??? (If you're reading this in the South, I meant "two non-white faces", sorry to confuse you, there's a black guy and a jewish guy, I know how some of you folks like to be up on that one.)

    Honestly, this article is a great read, but I think I'd rather watch the comedy tour continue than the sitcom. There's a reason multi-camera sitcoms are few and far between in the "successes" category, it's because Chuck Lorre stole them all- I mean, it's because audiences have gotten sophisticated to their tricks and grown bored with those beats that play better to the live audience behind the cameras than the TV one through 'em.

    Actually, maybe that's another problem too, today's audiences don't watch TV through the lens the way they used to, they don't watch them "together" anymore, they time-shift them and watch then on mobile devices, so laugh tracks feel forced even when they're authentic because they're selling a pace that sells mops and sedans, not humor.

    I'll tell you this though, reading that article Bill Lawrence wrote energized me enough to write more, whether that's a good thing or a bad thing for the world is debatable but for me it's great.

  • torque_smacky May 29, 2014

    It was indeed a good read, and it's far from isolated. There's an authentic journal from Judd Apatow in the Freaks and Geeks deluxe DVD set that runs along these lines. That was Judd Apatow and the show was a cult hit. A three-camera comedy called "Undateable" debuting in the summer probably won't be as lucky.

  • torque_smacky May 29, 2014

    And I wish Bill Lawrence hadn't invoked the name of Clone High. He had little to do with it. That was Phil Lord and Chris Miller's baby -- Lawrence just used his cred to get it on the air.

  • JT_Kirk May 29, 2014

    That's not nothing though, the show had been tooled up and pitched 2 years before getting on the air and went nowhere. Lawrence was just coming up as a producer with Scrubs having just launched, and he took a risk taking this show under his name and ensuring it got any play at all, as well as getting his newly-popular Scrubs actors to voice on the series. So I'm sure he sees it as his efforts leading to it launching.

  • ben45tpy May 29, 2014

    Energize Mr Scott. Sorry I couldn't resist, you must be careful with your language :).

  • JT_Kirk May 29, 2014

    I'll take it.

    Kirk out!

  • JT_Kirk May 29, 2014

    I'd like to see Chelsea Handler end up going away, she has some comedy chops but holy shit was she awful once she got that show, it turned her into a powermad asshole who gave up actual comedy in favor of being a loud, drunk jerk. (That drinking hasn't helped her be funny, but it's also utterly shocking that she's my age! She looks a decade older, and that's with hollywood makeup.) Where can you put someone like that, other than E! and similar dogshit networks? Maybe go back to the stand-up circuit and find a new connection to the audience, but I think she's built too much up and is stuck with the character she's made herself into.

    I know Dash from both that film and also her incredible behind that photographs so well. Sorry to hear that she's now going to be the next token black person / girl person on Fox News.

    I will now read that Bill Lawrence link, thank you.

  • gpgurl50 May 29, 2014

    I know the news was given kind of sarcastically especially since she could very well not be pregnant, but Hayden Panettiere isn't married yet. She could do unwed method acting next season if she is pregnant though. Haha.

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