ABC Comedy Development Watch: What Has Potential?

It’s November, and you know what that means—we’re “only” six months away from upfronts! All joking aside, ABC and the rest of the broadcast networks have already started the development cycle for 2016-2017. Right now, everything is in the very early stages—most shows in development have no more than a script ordered. Eventually, ABC will narrow it down to approximately 12 comedy pilots and 12 drama pilots, of which they will pick up a few. 

Right now, I wanted to take a quick look at a few of ABC’s comedy scripts, and what may have potential. This may be a fun little article to look back at come upfronts. To see the descriptions of ALL of the pilots/scripts currently in development, go to The Futon Critic here. Now, let's take a look at four comedy descriptions that may have some potential based on ABC's brand and the holes they may need to fill.

What Has Potential

1.    Splitsville

Main Production Companies: ABC Studios and Shondaland Productions
Creators: Emily Halpern (Trophy Wife) and Sarah Haskins (Trophy Wife)
EP: Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Private Practice), as well as Halpern/Haskins

Story Line: Single-cam; About a bunch of divorced adults who come together in an effort to raise the kids.

Why Might It Work?: In my opinion, this one will be ordered to series in less the script/pilot is a massive let down. The fact that they are trying to do more business with the creators of poor Trophy Wife, as well as the fact that the one and only Shonda Rhimes has come on board with her own company and colleague Betsy Beers, tells me that ABC really wants this one to work.

     Family Show

Main Production Company: 20th Century FOX
Creator: Danny Zuker (an EP of Modern Family)
Story Line: Follows the people who work behind the scenes of a family sitcom.

Why Might It Work?: Family sitcoms has officially become ABC’s comedy brand, and fans of their returning family comedies for next season may find this enjoyable. I wouldn’t mess with Wednesdays to launch something like this, but it seems like a cute little show that could work on a Tuesday night.

3.    The Fluffy Shop

Main Production Company: ABC Studios
Creator: Gabriel Iglesias (Cristela)
Story Line: Multi-cam; Loosely follows the life of stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias and his home life when he isn’t touring.

Why Might it Work?: ABC cancelled Cristela, but apparently they are more than willing to do business with Gabriel Iglesias, who discovered Cristela and played a recurring role on the show. If ABC can’t bring back Last Man Standing and want to continue Dr Ken, maybe The Fluffy Shop (possibly with a different title) is the way to go.

4.    The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport

Main Production Company: ABC Studios
Creator: Sarah Dunn
Executive Producer: Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors, Life in Pieces, The Mysteries of Luara, Instant Mom)

Story Line: A single-cam family comedy narrated by a “slightly larger wife” who lives in a dysfunctional family in a world where everyone else is perfect

Why Might it Work?: Despite the terrible name, this one seems to be on ABC’s family comedy brand, from the voiceover to the dysfunctional family to the assimilation aspect. If they don’t focus on the weight of the woman and focus more on a dysfunctional family, maybe they could have something. Of all those listed here though, I like it’s chances the least.

What do you think? Any script descriptions listed on Futon Critic that you found more interesting? Let me know!

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