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NBC Scraps ‘Coach’

If one of the main themes for broadcast prime these days is the reboot of a once popular series, including The X-Files on Fox and The Muppets on ABC, the trend lost a central figure with NBC not moving forward on its remake of Coach.

Produced by Universal Television, the multi-camera comedy was slated for a midseason debut, with Craig T. Nelson reprising the role of cantankerous college football coach Hayden Fox. Coach ran for 198 episodes on ABC beginning in 1989. It had a 13-episode straight-to-series order from NBC, with series creator Barry Kemp executive producing and writing. In the update, the retired Fox was to assist his son in a college coaching role.

Universal is said to be shopping the show elsewhere.

An NBC spokesperson confirmed thatthe network is not moving forward with Coach.

The NBC-Coach split comes as NBC struggles to develop comedies with staying power. Two years ago, ambitious plans to bring back the tradition of hit comedies on Thursday came up short when The Michael J. Fox Show and Sean Saves the World did not click with viewers. More recently, NBC cut ties with Bill Cosby, with whom the network had planned to launch a family-oriented comedy series.

While original series are proliferating on a wide range of networks, series remakes, in which network marketing arms are not tasked with selling a whole new concept to viewers, are increasingly filling schedule spots. In February, CBS premiered an updated version of The Odd Couple. Last October, Showtime announced that it was developing a sequel to Twin Peaks, the David Lynch-produced former ABC drama. Full House is coming back for a 13 episode order next year on Netflix, which also brought back offbeat Fox series Arrested Development.

Critical and commercial reaction to the reboots is mixed. The Muppets is one of the most anticipated fall rookies. But earlier this summer, Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette TV critic, told B&C, “I hope at some point we get back to the point where we can create original properties rather than basing shows on revivals such as The X-Files or Heroes Reborn. Who wanted Heroes brought back? I am at a loss to understand why we need that show to come back.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.