“The McCarthys,” a comedy about a close-knit, sports-crazed Boston family, premieres at 9:30 p.m. tonight on CBS, thanks to a rare second chance from the network’s executives.
A pilot shot in the single-camera style, a la ABC’s “Modern Family,” was made two years ago, but CBS declined to order it as a series.
A second pilot was shot in the multi-camera format, the style for such CBS hits as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Two and a Half Men,” was made for consideration for the current season and ordered by the network.
“The McCarthys” got its second chance because each of the proposed story lines submitted by series creator Brian Gallivan “was so fresh and original,” according to CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler.
“What you want to avoid is any kind of thing that feels generic or anything that feels derivative,” Tassler said. “Because this is autobiographical for Brian, everything felt very authentic.”
Gallivan was a writer on the ABC single-camera comedy “Happy Endings” when he wrote the first pilot.
“That was sort of the mode I was in and thought that would work best for this show,” Gallivan said during CBS’ portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“Because my family expresses love through insulting each other and being hateful, in a single-cam that was a little dark. In a multi-cam, we found it was more fun to have the audience laughing and enjoying it.”
“A lot of” material from the original pilot was used in the second version, Gallivan said. Three cast members from the original version were also in the second — Jack McGee, who plays the family’s outspoken and politically incorrect father, and Jimmy Dunn and Joey McIntyre, who play his twin sons Sean and Gerard.
McGee said “the writing was there” for the original version, but the series “lent itself to being in front of a live audience so you could get the jokes right away.”
The cast also consists of Tyler Ritter as the gay, somewhat athletically challenged son Ronny who is unexpectedly chosen by his father to be his assistant high school basketball coach; Kelen Coleman as Ronny’s sister Jackie; and Laurie Metcalf as their mother.