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‘Living Biblically’ Comedy Picked Up To Series By CBS, Renamed As ‘By The Book’

Deadline logo Deadline 5/12/2017 Nellie Andreeva
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The Big Bang Theory gang is expanding their presence on the CBS schedule in a big way this coming season. In addition to Big Bang‘s renewal for two more seasons, CBS has spinoff series Young Sheldon, executive produced by Big Bang EPs Chuck Lorre & Steve Molaro and star Jim Parsons. Now CBS also has given a series order to the multi-camera pilot By the Book (fka Living Biblically), executive produced by Big Bang‘s other original leading man, Johnny Galecki.

Earlier today, CBS ordered two new comedy (plus Young Sheldon) and four new drama series for next season: 9JKL; Me, Myself & I; S.W.A.T.; Seal Team; Instinct and Wisdom Of the Crowd. Traditionally, CBS’ first batch of pickups have gone to the series on the fall schedule, with subsequent orders given to midseason shows. On the drama side, there is talk about a potential midseason order for investigative journalism pilot The Get, starring Amy Brenneman. That would bring some gender diversity to the network’s new slate which includes four new dramas and four new comedies with male leads.

It’s been a strong year at CBS for Warner Bros. TV, which once dominated the network’s comedy schedule with four Lorre comedies and 2 Broke Girls but had lost some ground in the past couple of years. Three of  CBS’ four new comedy series come from WBTV, Young Sheldon; Me Myself & I and By the Book. The studio also has Big Bang and Mom returning and 2 Broke Girls on the bubble.

As I have reported, starting last pilot season, CBS started getting ownership in new WBTV series.

By the Book was one of the first projects put in development by Galecki’s WBTV-based company Alcide Bava when it acquired A.J. Jacobs’ bestselling book The Year of Living Biblically in December 2015.

The project, written by Patrick Walsh (2 Broke Girls), was bought by CBS  in a competitive situation last summer as single-camera. It was subsequently converted to multi-camera.

By the Book centers on a modern day man at a crossroads in his life who decides to live according to the Bible. It stars Jay R. Ferguson, now free and clear after his ABC series The Real O’Neals was canceled, Lindsey Kraft, Ian Gomez, David Krumholtz, Tony Rock and Camryn Manheim.

Galecki executive produces with Walsh, Spencer Medof as well as Alcide Bava VP Andrew Haas, who was instrumental in bringing The Year of Living Biblically to the company. The book had been under option at Paramount Pictures with Plan B producing. Producer Medoff had procured the rights and approached his friend Haas about turning the book into a TV series.

Andy Ackerman directed the pilot and executive produces.

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