For the large part of this year, I've been reporting that comedian Dane Cook would be getting his own sitcom on NBC. He signed a development deal with the network a year ago, and as of March was prepping to shoot the pilot for Next Caller, in which he played an outrageous talk show host on satellite radio.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that NBC is bailing on the show, as it is not heading the "creative direction" for which the network was hoping. Six episodes of Next Caller were originally ordered as a midseason replacement, four of which have already been shot. None of them will air.
I had little confidence in the show, but this is crazy, right? NBC is the network that ran Outsourced and currently airs Animal Hospital. They aired other comedian sitcoms like Whitney, created by and starring Whitney Cummings, and Are You There Chelsea?, based on the life of Chelsea Handler. Neither of those shows were any good. NBC has put a lot of bad stuff on the air, so it's hard to believe that they wouldn't at least take a chance on running a series starring one of the biggest names in comedy. Cook may not be what he was six or seven years ago -- some of which is a result of backlash, some of which is a result of self-imposed exile -- but he's surely still enough of a draw to bring in as many viewers as a bunch of comically sick animals.
This is now the third sitcom that Cook has failed to get on the air, following Humor Me in 2004 and Cooked in 2005 (both of which are available on DVD as Dane Cook: The Lost Pilots). The difference is that this is the first one he's shot since becoming a household name. If it didn't work out this time, a sitcom just might not be in the cards for Cook.
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