Malcolm Barrett, Michaela Conlin to Lead CBS’ ‘Hug Machine’ Comedy

CBS’ comedy pilot The Hug Machine has filled three of its lead roles.

Malcolm Barrett, Michaela Conlin and Allison Guinn will head the cast of the project, which counts the Lonely Island trio of Jorma Taccone, Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer among its executive producers. Sam Laybourne (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) wrote the CBS Studios pilot, which Taccone will direct.

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The Hug Machine centers on Dan (Barrett), a dad who gets a chance to save both his marriage and flailing rock career when he unexpectedly finds success in the raucous, cutthroat world of children’s music.

Dan is described as a loving but unrealistic father whose obsession with music has alienated his two kids and ex-wife (Conlin). When he stumbles into playing music for his child’s sixth birthday — swapping out the racy lyrics of his adult band for more kid-friendly material — he finds a way to keep doing what he loves and gets a second chance with his family.

Conlin’s Tara is playful and creative and refuses to play the part of a judgmental ex. After a wild period in college, Tara is now a pediatric cardiologist who wishes Dan could have grown up when they were together. Guinn will play Nikki, Dan’s long-time bandmate who is unprepared to deal with their newfound success.

Barrett starred in NBC’s cult favorite Timeless from 2016-18 and National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha opposite Cynthia Erivo. His credits also include The Boys, Better Off Ted and AMC’s Preacher. He is repped by Gersh and Management 360.

Conlin was a regular on Fox’s Bones throughout its 12-season run. She has recurred on Yellowstone and For All Mankind and appeared in the 2021 feature Bad Trip. Conlin is repped by APA, Mosaic and McKuin Frankel.

Guinn’s credits include The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Inside Amy Schumer, as well as Broadway productions of Hair and On the Town. She’s repped by Nicolosi & Co. and The Katz Company.

Keep track of the latest from the broadcast pilot season with THR’s pilot guide.

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