CBS is getting an early jump on the fall 2006 season, making a 13-episode commitment to a sitcom from the creators of Friends and Half & Half.
Sources said the network bested its broadcast rivals in a bidding war by making a bold play--complete with a hefty seven-figure sum--for The Class, from David Crane (Friends) and Jeffrey Klarik (Half).
The Class pilot begins with a party thrown by 27-year-old Ethan for his girlfriend. Ethan re-creates the moment they met--the first day of third grade--by inviting six other people who were in class with them who have all since lost touch with one another. The party then becomes the springboard for following how the lives of the reunited characters continue to intersect.
Class will feature an ensemble of twentysomething characters, but the comparison to Friends ends there: The series will deviate from the typical sitcom by eschewing one particular setting for the characters to gather. Instead, Class will feel more like a drama or unscripted project by splintering its story lines to follow each character individually in their own lives, a format that will necessitate building a multitude of sets.
"It's not eight people in a living room or a workplace," said Klarik, who also worked on Mad About You. "It presents a production challenge, but that's what makes it exciting."
Casting hasn't been determined. CBS and producer Warner Bros. Television declined comment.