Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Blasted For Its Lack of Diversity, CBS Adds Jermaine Fowler Comedy ‘Superior Donuts’

Jermaine Fowler (L) and Judd Hirsh in "Superior Donuts" (CBS)
Jermaine Fowler (L) and Judd Hirsh in “Superior Donuts” (CBS)

*After harsh criticism of its lack of diversity this fall, CBS is going for an immediate fix with a series order for redeveloped comedy “Superior Donuts,” starring comedian Jermaine Fowler.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show was originally picked up to pilot and shot this past development season. After narrowly missing the series pickup in May, CBS decided to reshoot the pilot with new actors and has now handed out a 13-episode order, due to premiere this midseason.

Jermaine Fowler in "Superior Donuts" (CBS)
Jermaine Fowler in “Superior Donuts” (CBS)

Based on the play by Tracy Letts, the comedy follows the relationship between the owner of a donut shop (Judd Hirsch, who replaced Brian d’Arcy James), his new young employee (played by Fowler) and their patrons in a gentrifying neighborhood of Chicago. The cast also includes David Koechner, Maz Jobrani, Anna Baryshnikov, Darien Sills-Evans, Rell Battle and Katey Sagal. Of the original pilot cast, only Fowler, Jobrani and Koechner returned.

“This show has been very high on our radar since we first put it into development last winter,” CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said. “Jermaine Fowler is a rising young star, Judd Hirsch is a comedy legend and the entire cast is full of great comedic talent. We’re very excited to expand our comedy lineup with Superior Donuts.”

According to Variety, CBS has been looking to give Fowler his own series for a while now. He developed a comedy during the 2015-2016 season that he wrote and was set to star in, but it did not go to series. He also headlined his own comedy special, “Jermaine Fowler: Give’em Hell Kid,” on CBS-owned cable network Showtime.

Fowler will serve as exec producer on “Superior Donuts,” along with Bob Daily, Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Mark Teitelbaum, John Montgomery, Michael Rotenberg and Josh Lieberman. CBS Television Studios is producing.

The pickup comes as CBS has been heavily criticized for its lack of diversity. Of the network’s eight new series for 2016-17, few feature diverse leading stars. Its entire comedy lineup is fronted by white men: Kevin James in “Kevin Can Wait”; Joel McHale in “The Great Indoors” and Matt LeBlanc in “Man With a Plan.”

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