The most unusual executive producer on a new fall show for CBS? Harry Styles.
Yes, that Harry Styles. The 24-year-old pop artist, the breakout star of boy band One Direction. Even the CBS scheduling chief, Kelly Kahl, clarified on a conference call Wednesday morning that it was “the singer.”
Anyway, the sitcom is called “Happy Together.” It stars Damon Wayans Jr. (whom CBS called “the most sought-after actor of this pilot season”) and Amber Stevens West as a 30-something, happily-married suburban couple whose lives are upended when a young pop star (Australian actor Felix Mallard) unexpectedly moves into their house.
It’s inspired by Styles’s real life living situation. In the first years of One Direction, as the group members were going from “X Factor” contestants to international sensations, Styles crashed with his friend Ben Winston, who lived in the suburbs of London with his wife. Winston, an executive producer on CBS’s “Late Late Show With James Corden,” will also exec-produce “Happy Together.”
The show will air on Mondays at 8:30 p.m. after “The Neighborhood,” starring Cedric the Entertainer in a comedy about a Midwestern fellow (Max Greenfield of “New Girl”) who moves to a historically black neighborhood in Los Angeles. Both sitcoms are followed by a remake of “Magnum PI,” starring Jay Hernandez as a former Navy SEAL who uses his military skills to become a private investigator. (Kahl said there was a fierce debate over whether the updated Magnum should have a mustache; they settled on a goatee.)
All three new shows also star actors of color as the leads — notable for CBS, which has been called out the last two years for a lack of diversity on its prime-time schedule unveiled during Upfront Week.
Other new series include a revival of “Murphy Brown,” with Candace Bergen reprising her role as the broadcast news star; only this time it’s “in a world of 24-hour cable, social media, ‘fake news’ and a vastly different political climate,” according to a news release. There’s also the very directly titled “FBI,” a Dick Wolf drama about the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
And on Sunday nights, CBS will air “God Friended Me,” also a very straightforward title. It stars Brandon Micheal Hall as an atheist podcast host who gets a Facebook friend request from God — and God will not stop poking him until he accepts. According to Kahl, it has a “Touched By an Angel” vibe.
Meanwhile, one reporter asked about the fate of long-running smash “The Big Bang Theory,” rumored to be approaching its final season. Kahl, however, said “we are hopeful there may be more,” saying that it’s up to co-creator Chuck Lorre.
“As long as Chuck and his team . . . have stories to tell, we’ll take it for as long as they want,” Kahl said.
FALL 2018 PRIME-TIME LINEUP ON CBS
New shows are in bold. * means new time slot.
8 p.m. “The Neighborhood”
8:30 p.m. “Happy Together”
9 p.m. “Magnum P.I.”
10 p.m. “Bull” *
8 p.m. “NCIS”
9 p.m. “FBI”
10 p.m. “NCIS: New Orleans”
8 p.m. “Survivor”
9 p.m. “Seal Team”
10 p.m. “Criminal Minds”
8 p.m. “The Big Bang Theory”
8:30 p.m. “Young Sheldon”
9 p.m. “Mom”
9:30 p.m. “Murphy Brown”
10 p.m. “S.W.A.T.”
8 p.m. “MacGyver”
9 p.m. “Hawaii Five-0”
10 p.m. “Blue Bloods”
7 p.m. “6o Minutes”
8 p.m. “God Friended Me”
9 p.m. “NCIS: Los Angeles”
10 p.m. “Madam Secretary”