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‘The Carmichael Show’ Renewed: Why the NBC Sitcom Was in Limbo

It came down to the wire, as NBC and 20th Century Fox TV haggled over episodic orders.

UPDATED: “The Carmichael Show” is filmed in front of a live studio audience… that will now return for the show’s third season. After a tough negotiation, NBC and 20th Century Fox TV have agreed to a deal that will bring the sitcom back for 13 episodes next midseason.

The fate of “The Carmichael Show” was murky just hours prior to the announcement, as NBC told reporters on Sunday morning that negotiations were ongoing to bring back the critically acclaimed sitcom, but had hit a snag. According to NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, NBC and 20th Century Fox TV (the studio behind the show) couldn’t agree on an episodic order.

READ MORE: NBC Preview: Here’s A First Look at New Shows for Fall (Plus Jennifer Salke on the Network’s Needs)

“I was hoping we would have it by now, but we’re just going back and forth with
the studio about number of episodes,” Greenblatt said. “We just haven’t come to terms on that, but hopefully we will. I don’t know if it’s going to be immediately or within the next couple of days, but hopefully it will be soon.”

NBC was reportedly asking for 10 episodes, while a standard order for a show in its third season would be 22. (But shows will sometimes return for 13 episodes, which is what 20th is believed to be asking for.) At NBC, the network has a jam-packed schedule without a lot of room, even though it has only scheduled two comedies (“Superstore” and the new “The Good Place”) in the fall. For midseason, NBC has new comedies “Great News,” “Trial & Error,” “Powerless” and “Marlon” lined up.

READ MORE: Network TV Carnage: What’s Canceled, What’s Renewed and What’s New

“It’s safe to say the studio always wants more episodes than the network does,”
Greenblatt said. “You get into a second season of a show and there’s
contractual obligations that are in that contract, which is based on antiquated
ways of doing business. We’re looking at a robust schedule with a lot of new
shows and trying to fit everything in there. We’re trying to agree on the
number of episodes that works for everybody.”

“The Carmichael Show” premiered in the summer of 2015 with six episodes, and returned this spring with a second season of 13 episodes. 20th Century Fox TV is likely concerned that these lesser orders will prevent “Carmichael” from entering traditional syndication (which is still a profitable endgame for sitcoms, particularly multi-camera comedies like “Carmichael”) fast enough.

Jerrod Carmichael stars in “The Carmichael Show,” which has earned acclaim
for featuring storylines that tackle controversial and politically charged
subjects. Amber Stevens West, David Alan Grier, Loretta Devine, Lil Rey Howery and Tiffany Haddish also star.

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