A signature 1990s sitcom is coming back for a new chapter. NBC has given a straight-to-series 13-episode order to Coach, with original star Craig T. Nelson on board to reprise his role and creator Barry Kemp set to write.
A sequel to the original series, the new Coach will be set in present day, picking up 18 years after the ABC sitcom went off the air after nine seasons. Coach Hayden Fox (Nelson) — now retired from coaching — is called back to become assistant coach to his own grown son, who is the new head coach at an Ivy league school in Pennsylvania that is just starting up a new team. Though the original series focused on Fox’s relationship with his college-age daughter, towards the end of the show he and his wife adopted a son who will grow up to follow in his father’s footsteps. Kemp and Nelson are executive producing the comedy, which, like the original, will be multi-camera. No other talent is attached.
NBC’s deal for Coach keeps Nelson at the network where he starred on the family drama Parenthood for six seasons. As Parenthood was wrapping its final episodes, Nelson and Kemp got together to brainstorm ideas of bringing Coach back. They homed in on a premise for the project, which was set up at Universal TV, the studio behind the original series.
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I hear all four major broadcast networks lined up to hear the pitch, which was taken out to NBC first because of its ties to Uni TV. I hear the network went aggressively after the comedy, buying it pre-emptively with a 13-episode on-air commitment.
Comedy has been going through a rough time at the broadcast networks, which have been struggling to launch new hits for the past couple of years, particularly in the traditional multi-camera format that has produced some of the biggest shows in TV history.
Nelson, repped by Paradigm, Tom Hoberman and Forward Entertainment, won an Emmy in 1992 for Coach. He will be seen in the comedy Get Hard, which opens tomorrow. Kemp, repped by ICM Parners and Bill Jacobson, also co-created the 1982-90 series Newhart.
Coach is the second popular 1990s ABC sitcom to get a sequel series with the original creators and stars. Last year, Disney Channel successfully launched Boy Meets World offshoot Girl Meets World, which has been renewed for a second season.
The Coach pickup comes as two other signature 1990s series, dramas Twin Peaks and The X-Files, are getting new chapters — also with the original auspices attached — as event series at Showtime and Fox, respectively. They are joining three series from the 2000s that have been brought back for new installments: 24 (Fox), Heroes (NBC) and Arrested Development (Netflix).