ABC’s first new series of the 2018-19 season premiere Wednesday evening, beginning at 9:30 p.m. with “Single Parents,” an ensemble comedy about a group of single parents raising their 7-year-olds.
The series sprung from a conversation over lunch in the writers room during the seventh and final season of the 2011-18 Fox comedy “New Girl” between series creator Elizabeth Meriwether and consulting producer JJ Philbin, Meriwether said at last month’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“We’d just been enjoying writing for these characters (Schmidt and CeCe) as parents,” said Meriwether, who created “Single Parents” with Philbin. The two also are among the show’s executive producers.
“I said to JJ it would be so fun to do a show where we could have these kind of crazy, very flawed characters but have them be parents.”
Meriwether was pregnant with her first child and was having what Philbin, a mother of two, called “all of these interesting conversations.”
“It felt like maybe there was a show there,” said Philbin, a daughter of retired talk show host Regis Philbin.
“Single Parents” stars “Saturday Night Live” alumnus Taran Killam as a man who has been so focused on raising his daughter (Marlow Barkley) he’s lost sight of who he is as a man.
The cast also includes three-time Emmy winner Brad Garrett as the widower of an exotic dancer and Jake Choi as the father of an infant.
“We wanted to represent that feeling when you are alone with an infant who doesn’t talk back to you and you’re living in your own world,” Philbin told City News Service.
“We thought that it was really fun to have someone who is having a different experience parenting.”
To Philbin “there’s a lot of heart” to the show.
“It’s about the reality of having kids to take care of, but also not wanting your life to be over yet, about wanting to get out there and have experiences, have adventures, even though you’re taking care of a tiny kid,” Philbin said.
Following at 10 p.m. is “A Million Little Things,” a drama about a group of people from Boston who become friends after being in an elevator that became stuck, then have to deal with the suicide of Jon Dixon (Ron Livingston), “the one whose life is the most put together on paper,” creator DJ Nash said.
“Our first season is about saying goodbye to Jon and looking at the reasons of why it might be,” Nash said. “I lost a friend to suicide, and years later, you don’t always know exactly why.
“We might discover what the straw was that broke the camel’s back, but we don’t know what all of the straws are, and we’ll never know which straw it was.”
Livingston will continue to appear in the series in flashbacks.
Future episodes “will deal with personal things in marriage, in work and in parenting and fun stuff. These guys are (Boston) Bruins fans and we’re going to see that again,” executive producer Dana Honor said.
“A Million Little Things” — whose title stems from the saying, ” They say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things” — has been likened to “The Big Chill,” the 1983 film about a group of college friends who are reunited following the suicide of one of its members.
“The way we differ is, in `The Big Chill,’ after Alex died, everyone went home,” Nash said. “Here, we’re going to stay, and we’re going to watch the transformation that takes place.”
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