While NBC played it safe this year with dopey family comedies, they are ready to get back in the Tina Fey business, ordering a bizarro-sounding pilot co-written by Fey and Robert Carlock about a young woman who escapes a doomsday cult.
The network gave the show, set to star The Office's Ellie Kemper, a 13-episode straight-to-series order, per Nellie Andreeva at Deadline. Kemper has been on the hunt for a series of her own. NBC didn't pick up her Brenda Forever for this season.
The Fey-Carlock show focuses on Kemper's character who starts life anew in New York after fleeing from aforementioned cult. So that's strange, and Beejoli Shah at Gawker's Defamer is already writing that NBC execs aren't too thrilled by the potentially volatile premise. It does sort of sound like an ill-advised Martha Marcy May Marlene...The Comedy!, but we want to have faith in Fey and Carlock, who brought us so much wonderful on 30 Rock. Perhaps Kemper's character will be something like Kenneth the Page on that show, a sweet character with a weirdly dark past. (See: I ate my father pig.)
Ultimately, it shows NBC has a willingness—if only because they love Fey—to go darker than their current cheery comedy lineup, which is not at all working right now. Maybe it's time to mix it up with some Heaven's Gate humor.