TBS grabs 'Sullivan and Son,' a fun portrait of Pittsburgh

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TBS has picked up the Pittsburgh-set comedy pilot "Sullivan and Son" as a 10-episode series that will air this summer. The sitcom stars Pittsburgh native comedian Steve Byrne as a man who leaves his job as a New York lawyer to come back to Pittsburgh to run a family-owned bar.

Actor Dan Lauria, who played the dad on "The Wonder Years," stars as Mr. Byrne's father and actress Jodi Long ("Eli Stone") plays his mother.

"The primary appeal is that it's just wonderful writing," said TBS executive vice president and head of programming Michael Wright in an interview last fall around the time the "Sullivan" pilot was filmed in Los Angeles, where the series will be produced.

TBS has been developing comedies that can be paired with reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" similar to the way "The Closer" was developed at TNT to be paired with reruns of "Law & Order."

"TBS has a broad appeal and though I love 'The Office' and 'Family Guy,' they're very specific audiences. Chuck Lorre shows have very broad comedic appeal and they're contemporary and smart," Mr. Wright said. Mr. Lorre is an executive producer on "The Big Bang Theory," which Mr. Wright called sarcastic but not snarky.

"They have a heart beating at the center but they're not corny or cheesy," Mr. Wright continued. "'Sullivan and Son' you can't compare to anything. 'Cheers' comes up because it was a comedy set in a bar, one of the best of all time, but I would hesitate to make the comparison only in the sense that it has the appeal of a place you want to go and it takes place with recognizable folks from your town."

"Sullivan and Son" is executive-produced by Vince Vaughn ("Wedding Crashers"), Peter Billingsley ("A Christmas Story") and Rob Long ("Cheers").

"It's a very fun portrait of Pittsburgh," Mr. Wright said. "I don't claim to know Pittsburgh, but it's very much a lover letter to Pittsburgh people."

Portions of this story first appeared in Tuned In Journal blog at post-gazette.com/tv . TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook. First Published February 10, 2012 9:30 PM


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