Michael Bolton, John Legend, Ty Burrell: Selling Sitcom Pilots Inspired by Stars' Lives
Situation comedies based on stars' own off-screen lives is a TV trend as old as I Love Lucy. Still, we're likely to see a lot more star-inspired sitcoms in the near future. Just on Friday, Deadline reported the sale of three such projects to the networks, by stars as varied as Michael Bolton, John Legend and Ty Burrell.
Bolton's pilot, which ABC picked up, is the wonderfully titled Michael Bolton's Daughter Is Destroying My Life. (Note to ABC: If you can have a show called Don't Trust the B---- in Apt. 23, you can surely keep this title.) It's actually the brainchild of actress Allison Miller, who plays Matthew Perry's put-upon assistant on NBC's Go On. It's inspired by the 27-year-old's real-life run-ins with celebrities when she first came to Los Angeles. On the pilot, which is written by 30 Rock's Tami Sagher, a young woman comes to Hollywood and gets a job working as social media director for Bolton, only to discover she's in over her head in having to deal with the singer's unruly daughter, who has recently come back into his life.
Miller, who will produce and may also star, never actually met Bolton before the pilot project came together. Nonetheless, Bolton will co-executive produce the show and star as a comically exaggerated version of himself. That's something the Grammy-winning singer has been doing a lot lately, in a recent guest spot on Two and a Half Men, and last season on Saturday Night Live, in the popular "Jack Sparrow" digital short (link contains some NSFW language).
What's the 411 on Legend and Burrell's comedies?
The FOX network has picked up Legend's untitled pilot, which the Grammy-winning singer will co-executive produce. The story, loosely based on his own life, finds a man in his 20s becoming guardian to his younger siblings while trying to manage an increasingly successful career and have a social life. (Sounds a bit like FOX's 1990s show Party of Five, no?) No word on whether Legend, who did a TV stint this summer on ABC's Duets, will appear on his own series.Burrell's untitled pilot, sold to ABC (the network behind Burrell's Modern Family), it sounds a little Green Acres-ish. It's co-written and co-produced by Burrell and his brother Duncan and inspired by their childhood in rural Oregon, where their family owned a country store. On the pilot, two city families move to an Oregon hamlet, take over the town's sole store, and figure out how to get along in a place without the urban amenities they're used to.
It's not the first project co-written by the Emmy-winning Modern Family actor and his brother, who runs the Salt Lake City nightspot Bar-X, which the siblings co-own. In the 1990s, they wrote an off-Broadway show called Babble, in which Ty did stand-up comedy while Duncan heckled him from the audience.
No word on whether there'll be an on-camera role for Ty, who presumably has his hands full playing Phil Dunphy on Modern Family -- or whether Duncan will pop up occasionally to heckle his own show.
Do you think any of these shows has the potential to become the next Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm or Girls? Let us know below.