‘A.U.S.A.’ diary

Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Oct. 1, 2001
Rich Appel, previously an executive producer and writer on Fox’s “King of the Hill” and “The Simpsons,” conceives the idea and begins the treatment for “A.U.S.A.”-a semi-autobiographical comedic look at his past life as a young assistant U.S. attorney based in New York-to be shot in a single-camera format.
Nov. 5
Mr. Appel makes a script sale to NBC for “A.U.S.A.,” which is being developed under the auspices of 20th Century Fox Television and NBC Studios.
Jan. 29, 2002
NBC makes a pilot order.
March 7
Mr. Appel completes the first production draft of the “A.U.S.A.” script.
March 18 to 22
Table reads and rehearsals start with cast, producers, studio and network executives in attendance-along with the latter two groups handing in some creative notes to Mr. Appel.
March 27 to April 5
Production week begins on “A.U.S.A.,” filming at Dos Carlos Studios in downtown Los Angeles.
April 20
20th Century Fox Television and NBC Studios screen a rough-cut pilot episode of “A.U.S.A.” for audience focus group testing at ASI. Early response data is a promising 64 percent favorable score.
May 9
Mr. Appel and editors complete final sweetening and wrap post-production on the pilot, then deliver it to NBC.
May 9 to 10
NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker and lead development honchos Karey Burke (executive VP of prime-time series development) and JoAnn Alfano (senior VP of comedy development) screen “A.U.S.A’s” pilot with other scheduling and current series executives at the network.
May 11 to 12
Mr. Zucker, Ms. Burke and Ms. Alfano remain high on the pilot concept but are leaning toward the conclusion that “A.U.S.A.” may play better to a broad audience if it were reformatted and reshot as a multicamera sitcom.
May 13
NBC holds its fall 2002 season upfront presentation in New York and announces that “A.U.S.A.” is being held for a potential midseason 2003 spot. Show will become a multicamera sitcom.
July 16 to 23
Mr. Appel and the writing staff continue revisions through seven drafts of the multicamera script as table reads and rehearsals are ongoing throughout the week.
July 24 to 25
Final rehearsals and blocking; multicamera filming commences in front of a live studio audience at the 20th Century Fox studio lot in West Los Angeles.
Aug. 5
20th Century Fox TV and NBC Studios re-embark on audience testing for rough-cut of the multicamera “A.U.S.A.” pilot. Response data pushes higher to more favorable 72 percent range.
Aug. 14
Finished pilot is delivered to NBC and is screened by Mr. Zucker and development and current series executives.
Aug. 15
NBC issues a 13-episode order (including the pilot).”A.U.S.A.” gets a blanket commitment for an early 2003 run.