Carmichael and 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the show, had asked for 13. That left both sides at a stalemate. “With all due respect, it was a disrespectful offer,” Carmichael recently told KCRW’s The Spin-Off podcast, hosted by me and Vulture’s Joe Adalian.
“For what I think this show has contributed to the network, I found it disrespectful,” he said. “Not that I entered into the television business for all the respect in the world.”
Most returning broadcast network shows receive a 22-episode order, especially by the time they’ve hit their third season. But Carmichael said he wasn’t interested in such a large order. “To be honest with you, I didn’t want 22. I want to maintain a certain amount of quality with the show. I think 13 is a great amount that allows me to be genuinely inspired. We can have room to breathe.”
Why did NBC insist on 10? According to Carmichael, NBC was picking up 10-episode orders for its freshman comedies. “We’re not a freshman comedy,” he said. “I think we’ve contributed a lot to NBC.”
The Peacock network ultimately gave “The Carmichael Show” a 13-episode renewal, and the show is on track to return next year (although it doesn’t have a premiere date yet).
Carmichael said he’s thankful of the show’s champions at the network, including NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke, whom he said “genuinely cares about the show, and it means a lot to me.”
But Carmichael also admits the give-and-take with NBC has been rocky at times. “Anyone who’s ever loved someone who battled addiction knows my relationship with NBC,” he joked.
The star said he hasn’t been on a notes call for “The Carmichael Show” since the show’s pilot. “Either you’re telling me I legally can’t say a thing, or we’re having a creative difference,” he said. “And I trust my creative instinct more than yours.”
His advice to NBC? “Give it time and give it room and let it grow. Don’t operate with fear around it.”
Meanwhile, Carmichael also revealed why he decided to delete most of his Twitter history in May. The timing was unusual: It was right during the NBC show pickup talks. But the comedian said he decided to back off from Twitter and social media because “I wasn’t completing any thoughts. I don’t like distractions. It didn’t really serve a purpose for me.”
Listen to more of the podcast — including Carmichael recounting the time he received a text message from Norman Lear — here.