Fox has pulled the plug on the Mark Brazill sitcom which was billed as a “coming-of-age” ensemble that was rumored to be like That ’70s Show. Brazill was co-creator of the popular comedy.
Written by Brazill, the untitled semi-autobiographical project was called The Rednecks & Romeos during early development. Due to poor “test tapping,” the project was nixed shortly after casting for the pilot. Fox has developed new guidelines in their decision-making process. After a live studio test, finalists for key roles in the pilot were taped at Warner Bros. TV for a network test. After looking at the material, studio heads determined that, when taped in front of a bluescreen, actors didn’t “pop the way they did during the in-person studio test.”
For multi-camera comedies, such as the Mark Brazill project, shows hang heavily on the chemistry among the leads and the energy in the room, which was lost on tape. This is a new attempt from the network to kill boring or stiff shows before they spend millions of dollars on development and advertising. Upon WBTV’s prompting, Fox agreed to a dual network test: an in-person audition and a more extensive screen test done by the studio with the actors on the set. Unfortunately for Brazill, Fox, after seeing actors and reviewing tapes, decided not to move forward with the project.
Despite Fox’s lack of interest, Warner Bros. remains high on the project. The studio says that they will shop the idea to other networks.
That ’70s Show debuted on Fox network in 1998. The show ran for eight consecutive seasons, ending with its 200th episode in 2006. Over time, the sitcom became a hit for Fox and was used as a launching pad for the film careers of some of its leads such as Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Topher Grace. The threesome were mostly unknown at the time they were cast.
Brazill is a New York native and based That ’70s Show upon his experience in Fredonia, NY. Brazill was also a consulting producer and later a producer of NBC’s popular sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.
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