Dead line EXCLUSIVE: NBC is developing Hope Café, a multi-camera comedy from Mayim Bialik and her Sad Clown Productions, Damon Wayans Jr. and his Two Shakes Entertainment, as well as Warner Bros Television where Sad Clown is based.
Written by Linda Videtti Figueiredo (Fuller House), Hope Café is inspired by Hope For the Day’s Sip of Hope in Chicago, the world’s first coffee shop where “It’s OK Not to Be OK” and 100% of the profits go to mental health education.
In the series, the friendships, lives and loves of the workers and customers are all intertwined at the Hope Café, a coffee shop where the baristas are also trained as mental health counselors. Think Freud, with tattoos and a frother.
Figueiredo executive produces with Bialik and Mackenzie Gabriel-Vaught for Sad Clown as well as Wayans and Kameron Tarlow for Two Shakes. Dave Kunicki and Jonny Boucher from Hope For the Day serve as consultants.
“When we learned of Hope For the Day’s incredible work through their coffee shop Sip of Hope, we KNEW the collective partnership between Two Shakes, Sad Clown, Linda and Hope For the Day could lead to a show that mainstreams the conversation around mental health with an honest, but lighthearted touch,” Two Shakes and Sad Clown said in a joint statement. “Hope For the Day’s slogan ‘It’s ok not to be ok’ isn’t just an incredible motto, it’s our show’s theme and characters’ way of life. Thematically, this is about the universal journey to find happiness, fulfillment and connection, and the friends and community we lean on for support when times get tough.”
Figueiredo’s series credits also include Rules of Engagement and Cougar Town, as well as developing and running three seasons of Disney Channel’s Stuck in the Middle. She is repped by the Kaplan Stahler Agency and manager Shelly Aronson.
Two Shakes, founded by Wayans and Tarlow, has several other series projects in the works.
At Peacock, the company has a half-hour action comedy about a struggling married couple who become bounty hunters, written by Daniel & Matthew Libman and exec produced by David Caspe, with Wayans Jr. attached to star and exec produce. CBS Studios and Universal TV are co-producing.
At the CW, Two Shakes has The Pretenders with CBS Studios. It follows a group of strangers in witness protection who are put together to form a makeshift family.
At ABC, the company has Dugout Moms, about a struggling but resilient single mom who finds support and sisterhood from a group of Little League parents after she and her son move to an exclusive Atlanta suburb. It is with CBS Studios and Picture It Productions.
Sad Clown, founded by Bialik, gravitates towards highlighting women’s issues, mental health challenges and all things geeky and smart. The company has comedy series Call Me Kat, starring and exec produced by Bialik, at Fox with Jim Parsons’ That’s Wonderful and Warner Bros TV producing. It is set to premiere in 2021.
Hope For the Day is a non-profit organization focused on empowering the conversation on proactive suicide prevention and mental health education. It was founded in 2011 by Boucher, the CEO, and is overseen by Kunicki, the executive director.