TV Talk: West Pennsylvania Native Scares CBS ‘Ghosts’ Comedy


Trib Total Media TV writer Rob Owen offers some viewing advice for the week ahead.

The funniest new comedy of fall, CBS’s “Ghosts”, premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. with consecutive episodes.

Based on a BBC comedy of the same title available in the US on HBO Max, CBS’s “Ghosts” follows Samantha (Rose McIver, “iZombie”) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar) who inherit a northern mansion from the United States. ‘New York State haunted by dead souls including a pompous 1700s militiaman (Brandon Scott Jones), 1980s scout troop leader (Richie Moriarty), Viking explorer (Devan Chandler Long), wife an 1800s thief baron (Rebecca Wisocky), a Prohibition-era lounge singer (Danielle Pinnock) and a 1960s hippie (Sheila Carrasco).

The ghosts are intrigued by the new owners but terrified that they will turn the place into a bed and breakfast. Eventually, the human Samantha acquires the ability to see ghosts, which creates further complications since her husband cannot see them.

“Ghosts” was adapted for CBS by writers Joe Wiseman and Joe Port, a 1993 Altoona High School graduate, writing partners who previously worked on “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” “The Last OG,” “1600 Penn “,” The Office “and” Just Shoot Me. ”

They adapted Britcom’s “The IT Crowd” for NBC, but that series never aired. They also wrote the ABC pilot “What About Barb?” “, A distaff on the 1991 film” What About Bob? It was also not repeated in series. Port said he believed a failed CBS vampire comedy pilot the couple wrote made CBS executives think of when they were looking for American writers to adapt “Ghosts.”

“I liked it immediately,” Port said of the British “Ghosts” and because its ghost characters are British archetypes, the writers saw the series as adaptable by replacing the American archetypes. “Some of them look a lot like their British counterparts, and others are big starts. But it’s just based on what suited that region, where this house is, and what kind of American history has taken place in that region.

The CBS “Ghosts” pilot was three days away from filming in Los Angeles in March 2020 when the pandemic scuttled production. They were able to shoot the pilot in December 2020; when it was ordered in series in May, production moved to Montreal.

A college graduate in history, Port initially dreamed of making a living as a political cartoonist after drawing drawings for the University of Pennsylvania student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Her brother, Moses, is also a television writer, most recently writing on NBC’s “Superstore” and Netflix’s “Atypical”. Seeing Moses working in the television business opened Joe’s eyes to the idea of ​​writing for television as a possible career, which was not on his radar growing up in Altoona.

As a one-camera comedy in a sea of ​​multicam sitcoms on CBS, “Ghosts” is an odd fit, but Port said the network didn’t try to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

“We’re not really trying to adapt it to look like their other shows,” Port said. “We’re just trying to make it its own thing and hope people will watch it and like it.”

“Hard as nails”

On the folks of Johnstown-Altoona making television for CBS, the premiere of the third season of the “Tough as Nails” reality contest (9 p.m. Wednesday), stars Christine Conners, 29, from Johnstown, who lives currently at Glendora. , California, among its competitors.

Louise Keoghan, who co-created the series with her husband / host Phil Keoghan, said apprentice ironworker Conners impressed producers with his enthusiasm for the apprenticeship.

“She showed up to the ‘Tough as Nails’ job site every day ready for new challenges, no matter how grueling and mentally demanding,” said Keoghan. “Although surrounded by experienced tradespeople who are twice her age, Christine has shown that she is wise beyond her age and therefore one of the surprises of the season.

‘United States of Al’

Just before “Ghosts,” CBS’s “Al States” (8:30 p.m. Thursday) returns for its second season with a first ripped from the headlines.

The executive-produced sitcom Chuck Lorre about Afghan performer Al (Adhir Kalyan), who is moving to the United States to live with veteran Marine best friend Riley (Parker Young), had filmed an episode and a half for his new season when Kabul fell to the Taliban in Afghanistan in mid-August.

Kudos to CBS and the show’s production company, Warner Bros., for supporting the show’s writers and producers who created a new first season about the fall of Kabul and Al and Riley’s efforts to get Al’s sister out of the country. It’s an intense and well-meaning half hour that largely forgoes laughter in favor of real emotion. A reworked version of the planned first season will air at a later date.

You can reach TV editor Rob Owen at rowen@triblive.com or 412-380-8559. Follow Rob on Twitter Where Facebook. Ask questions about TV by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.



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