CBS will air the first new episodes of its returning scripted series in the coronavirus-delayed television season on Thursday night, along with the first premiere of a series intended for its fall schedule, “B Positive.”
The fourth-season premiere of “Young Sheldon” airs at 8 p.m. with Sheldon (Iain Armitage) having a breakdown after graduating high school and realizing he may not be ready for college.
The premiere of “B Positive” follows at 8:30 p.m. The series stars Thomas Middleditch as Drew Dunbar, a therapist and newly divorced father who’s faced with finding a kidney donor when he runs into Gina, a rough-around-the-edges former high school classmate (Annaleigh Ashford) and retirement home worker who volunteers her own.
“B Positive” is inspired by creator Marco Pennette’s experience as a kidney recipient. Pennette was told in 2013 he was in renal failure and needed a transplant.
“I was home visiting for the holidays and my mom’s best friend’s daughter plopped down on the couch next to me and said, `I heard that you need a kidney. You’re taking mine,”’ said Pennette, a co-creator of the 1995-99 NBC comedy “Caroline in the City” and a co-executive producer of the CBS comedy “Mom” from 2014-20.
“She needed to lose 50 pounds in order to donate her kidney and she did,” he said. “This incredible friendship grew out of it. I remember thinking at the time, as terrified as I was, that if I actually survive this, this could be a great series.”
Pennette was encouraged to turn his experiences as a kidney recipient into a series by perennial hitmaker Chuck Lorre, a co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Young Sheldon” and “Mom.” Lorre is a co-creator and executive producer of “B Positive.”
“I wrote the script over Thanksgiving turned this in and said, `We’ve got to shoot this,” Pennette said.
“B Positive’s” other cast members are Kether Donohue as Gina’s best friend; Sara Rue as Drew’s ex-wife Julia; Izzy G. as Drew and Julia’s teenage daughter; and Terrence Terrell as Eli, a football player Drew meets in dialysis.
“B Positive’s” recurring cast members include Linda Lavin and Bernie Kopell as residents of the retirement home where Ashford’s character works.
The “B Positive” premiere was directed by James Burrows, a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and a five-time recipient of the Emmy for outstanding directing of a comedy series for “Cheers,” “Frasier” and “Taxi.”
Burrows also directed the second episode, which is set to air next Thursday.
The eighth season premiere of “Mom” follows at 9 p.m. The episode is the series’ first since the departure of co-star Anna Faris to pursue other opportunities. Her absence will be addressed in the episode.
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