THE RUNWAY – YOUR 2017 PILOT SURVIVAL GUIDE: ABC COMEDIES

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Jalen vs. Everybody

Logline: Follows former NBA star and current TV personality Jalen Rose as he juggles his responsibilities with the challenges of being a single dad.
Cast: Jalen Rose, Anna Maria Horsford, Maria Gibbs, Kelly Jenrette, Laysla de Oliveira, Jessica McKenna, Rich Sommer
Creators: Nahnatchka Khan (W / EP), Jake Kasdan (EP), Melvin Mar (EP), Mandy Summers (EP), Chris Koch
Studios: ABC Studios TV, 20th Century Fox TV, Fierce Baby

The idea of athletes starring in network comedies is nothing new. The last one I can remember was Michael Strahan on Fox’s Brothers, and though that one didn’t get a back nine pick-up, Strahan went on to bigger and better things. I’ve never thought of Jalen Rose as TV lead material, but he’s got some heavy hitter producers on board for this project, so clearly there are some high expectations.

We follow a day in the life of Jalen Rose, a sports television personality. He has to deal with mundane office difficulties, like a co-worker asking for a second parking spot and his co-host thinking they’re about to be fired. Jalen and his girlfriend go to a nice restaurant, where they spend most of their time looking at photos and videos on their phones. The daily annoyances continue as Tim Duncan is given a speaking role on SportsCenter and Jalen’s young daughter gets in trouble for chasing a boy at school.

I would like to say upfront that I am a Nahnatchka Khan fan. Fresh Off the Boat is an excellent network comedy, but this script simply feels like it’s Jalen Rose being Jalen Rose. Whereas Black-ish explores some interesting themes, Jalen vs. Everybody is about a rich successful athlete, who has become a rich successful sportscaster, who is slightly inconvenienced by his daughter wanting to eat at Nobu. The obstacles or conflict in this pilot are virtually non-existent. And the fact that Jalen is in almost every scene does not help the chance of a greenlight. As Chris Webber should have done at the end of the 1993 NCAA championship game, I think ABC should probably pass.

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