Wednesday, March 07, 2018

NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Champions - Premieres March 8; Former TV Land Sitcom Moves to Paramount Network

Champions

Champions - Thursdays at 9:30PM ET/PT on NBC
Premieres Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT


by Skees

Vince (Anders Holm) would love to be living "the dream," but when his father died, his dream was pushed aside when he and his brother, Matthew (Andy Favreau), take over the gym that his father owned. Now, he has the opportunity to sell the gym and move to Florida... until an ex (special guest star Mindy Kaling) from about a dozen years ago arrives at the front door with the son (J.J. Totah) that he never knew he had.

Cast Details:

Anders Holm as Vince
Andy Favreau as Matthew
J.J. Totah as Michael
Mouzam Makkar as Britney
Fortune Feimster as Ruby
Yassir Lester as Shabaz

Anders Holm (Vince) came to fame from the Comedy Central series Workaholics, where he was both a creator and a star. He also had a recurring role on The Mindy Project.

Andy Favreau (Matthew) has had guest roles in series including Will & Grace, The Mick, and 2 Broke Girls, among others. He is also the brother of Jon Favreau, a former speechwriter for President Barack Obama.

J.J. Totah (Michael) made his debut on Kroll Show and also was among the regular cast in the short-lived ABC series, Back in the Game. He also appeared in four episodes of the final season of Glee.

Mouzzam Makkar (Britney) comes from working on the stage, but she has appeared in episodes of The Vampire Diaries, 9JKL, Bones, among many other series.

Fortune Feimster (Ruby) made her debut on Last Comic Standing, but has also co-starred on The Mindy Project and had a recurring role on Life in Pieces. She also appeared on many Chelsea Lately episodes.

Yassir Lester (Shabaz) is an improv comic who has been seen on TV on The Carmichael Show and Key and Peele.

Pilot Plot:

"Pilot" (Airs March 8 at 9:30PM ET)

Vince and Matthew are brothers who've been running the gym that their father ran for the past several years, and Vince is ready to move on. In fact, he even decides to sell he gym. But meanwhile, a woman, Priya, is in New York, trying to get her drama loving son Michael enrolled in a special school for talented young kids. And before Vince knows it, Priya and Michael are knocking on the door with a surprise that is going to change his life forever.

"I Think I'm Gonna Tolerate it Here" (Airs March 15 at 9:30PM ET)

With Michael now living with Vince and Matthew full-time, it seems they've got a big problem: he has no bedroom to call his own. Even worse, it turns out he is absolutely insufferable to live with, and a major slob. Meanwhile, Vince needs to come up with $5000 in just a few days or else he is going to lose the gym. They're going to have to solve both of these problems, perhaps with a single solution?

"Lumps" (Airs March 22 at 9:30PM ET)

There's a new gym in town and they're taking all of the ladies from Champions gym. And it's going to take an all out battle to bring them back, with Michael helping Vince and Matthew know what the ladies want.

Analysis:

This is definitely one of those series where the name of the doesn't really tell viewers anything about the series, and from what I've seen, the advertising doesn't really do too great of a job of that either. So that may make it a little difficult to bring in viewers for the first time. But to be clear, the premise is rather simple: two guys are raising a kid and running a gym.

This is far from the first time that there has been a series about a guy (or two guys) raising estranged kids. Even though this is a much different series, the premise of two guys raising a children was the entire basis of My Two Dads. And the premise of a father raising an older child that he wasn't even aware that he had was the entire basis of Silver Spoons. So the series definitely has elements of both of those, even though the main twist here is that the kid isn't your typical kid, he's a gay half-Indian who wants to make it big in showbiz, and can be difficult to live with at times. That's what makes the series stand out. If he was just another boring cookie cutter Ricky Stratton or Nicole Bradford, it would be a tired plot at this point.

The home life, of course, is not all the series is about. There is also what goes on at work in the gym, and honestly, that too could almost make a series by itself. Those scenes become a lot like workplace comedies such as The Office or Superstore, although those series seem to have an eclectic group of coworkers with some actually being level-headed and normal. It seems that the gym has nobody who is truly like that, and that everybody is dysfunctional. But why not? There's no need to be another cookie cutter office comedy.

It's definitely a unique premise for a TV series, and while the first few episodes do have a few rough edges to work out, it definitely has some potential.

Conclusion:

This certainly wasn't a bad pilot, although I can't say it is the best one that I've ever seen either. I think the real question when it comes to whether or not this show can succeed is whether or not it can fit into the NBC lineup appropriately, and it's really tough to answer that question one way or the other. It really feels like it fits more into the mold of the single camera sitcoms that have aired on Fox in recent years, such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project (that probably shouldn't be too surprising since Mindy Kaling also serves as executive producer here), The Mick, etc. But at the same time, it's probably fair to say that any sitcom could fit into the NBC lineup, as their entire roster of current successful sitcoms consists of just Superstore (not exactly a runaway hit, but it has an audience and lasting power) and Will & Grace (not at all a fresh series).

Ultimately, it's a fun series that's worth giving a chance. The first three episodes give me hope that it could be a good series, but I'll be watching to see where it goes from there, and it's at least worth giving the series a fair shot.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4/5
Funniness: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 9:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • NBC.com Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Champions Photo Gallery

    Preview:




  • Nobodies

    A former TV Land comedy is getting a new home. And soon. Original scripted comedy Nobodies starring Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and Rachel Ramras premieres Thursday, March 29 at 10pm ET/PT now on the Paramount Network. Series executive produced by Ben Falcone, Melissa McCarthy and Michael Macdonald adds Mark-Paul Gosselaar as recurring role. Second Season features appearances by Kristin Wiig, Sia, Leslie Bibb, Cedric The Entertainer, Michael MacDonald, Ben Falcone, and Melissa McCarthy.

    Nobodies follows Groundlings alums Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf, and Rachel Ramras as they navigate life on the outskirts of fame and try - again - to "make it" in Hollywood; with help from their more-famous friends. The season 2 trailer showcases appearances from the stars' real-life friends including Kristin Wiig, Sia, Leslie Bibb, Cedric The Entertainer, and executive producers Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy. Gosselaar will appear in all 12 episodes. The 12-episode half-hour comedy series is executive produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone (through their On the Day productions) with Michael MacDonald (MADtv) serving as Executive Producer, Director, and Showrunner, and is written and executive produced by stars Davidson, Dorf, and Ramras.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Tuesday, January 31

    Night Court - "Dan v. Dating" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    With Abby's encouragement, Dan attempts to venture back into the dating world, but reigniting his love life proves more complicated than anticipated; Gurgs and Olivia search for a new office and find something they weren't expecting.

    American Auto - "Most Hated CEO" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    Ian and Sadie attempt to rehab Katherine's image from the pawl controversy by staging a phony video with Katherine's family and a visit to "Late Night with Seth Meyers."

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 30)

    Tuesday, January 31

    • Pamela Anderson (Stacked/Home Improvement) - Catch Pamela on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Crazy Ones) - Sarah appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
    • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet?/Everybody Hates Christ) - Terry is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Sally Field (Gidget/The Flying Nun/The Girl with Something Extra) - Sally will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Scott Caan (Entourage) - Scott appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • D. L. Hughley (The Hughleys/Double Rush) - D. L. guest hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm. He talks about taking over the responsibilities as guest host of The Daily Show on Sherri, so check your local listings.
    • Kal Penn (The Santa Clauses/Sunnyside/We Are Men) - Kal gives all the details about the upcoming ABC special Schoolhouse Rock! 50th Anniversary Singalong on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
    • Anthony Anderson (black-ish/Guys with Kids/All About the Andersons) - Anthony appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tia Mowry (Family Reunion/The Game/Sister, Sister) - Tia will be on The Jennifer Hudson Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sherri Shepherd (Mr. Iglesias/Trial & Error/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Sherri talks about her new talk show on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Jennifer Grey (Red Oaks/It's Like, You Know...) - Jennifer talks about her Lifetime film Gwen Shamblin on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am and on NBC's Today in the 10am hour..
    • Kyla Pratt (Call Me Kat/The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder/Let's Stay Together/One on One) - Kyla talks about the new Disney+ series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
    • Harry Hamlin (Movie Stars) - Harry talks about AMC's Mayfair Witches on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
    • Reyn Doi (That '90s Show) - Reyn will be on PIX11 Morning News on WPIX in New York at 8:50am.
    • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew appears on NBC's Today some time between 7-9am.
    • Nathan Lane (Only Murders in the Building/Modern Family/Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!) - NBC's Today catches up with Nathan in the 9am hour.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (October-January)

    Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
    10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
    11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
    11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
    11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
    12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
    12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
    12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    01/03 - Andy Richter Controls the Universe - The Complete Series (2023 Release)
    01/27 - Master of None - Season Three / The Complete Series
    More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    01/30 - Paramount+ Series Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Launches Feb. 16; Remembering Lisa Loring of The Addams Family
    01/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 30, 2023)
    01/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Neil Patrick Harris Reprises Character on How I Met Your Father; Rick and Morty Co-Creator Fired From Series
    01/27 - NBC Celebrates Carol Burnett's 90th Birthday in April; Fox Renews The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers for 2 Seasons Each; Remembering Yoshio Yoda of McHale's Navy and Carole Cook of The Lucy Show
    01/26 - CBS Renews Bob Hearts Abishola for Season 5; Marc Maron HBO Special Premieres February 11
    01/25 - BUZZR Wigs Out for Laughs on Friday; The CW's Comedic Launches
    01/24 - CBS Renews The Neighborhood for Season 6; Lifetime's New February Ripped from the Headlines Movies Starring Chrishell Stause and Samantha Mathis
    01/23 - OWN Acquires Insecure Starting in February; Season 2 of Bel-Air Gets Tatyana Ali to Recur
    01/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 23, 2023)
    01/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court a Success for NBC; South Park Season 26 Premiere Date Set
    01/20 - Amazon Freevee Orders The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh; ABC's 20th Anniversary of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
    01/19 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Apple TV+; HBO's Rain Dogs Premieres March 6
    01/18 - getTV Reveals Magnum P.I. Timeslot; Onyx Collective Bringing More Programming to Hulu
    01/17 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Hulu, NBCUniversal; Antenna TV Valentine's Day Marathon
    01/16 - Zoey 101 Movie Zoey 102 Coming Soon to Paramount+; Starz Picks Up Minx
    01/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 16, 2023)
    01/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pair of Popular Broadcast Sitcoms Renewed for Third Season; Malcolm in the Middle Movie in the Works?
    01/13 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: FX; NBC Alters Midseason 2023 Schedule
    01/12 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: ABC/Freeform; Antenna TV's Designing Women Super Belle Special
    01/11 - All in the Family Coming to MeTV; 80th Golden Globe Winners
    01/10 - SAG Nominations Live on Instagram Live; Remembering Earl Boen of It's a Living and Adam Rich of Eight Is Enough
    01/09 - Wednesday Is Netflix's Top Hit of the Year; CBS Renews Fire Country
    01/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 9, 2023)
    01/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Wednesday to Get Second Season at Netflix; Call Me Kat Pays Tribute to Leslie Jordan
    01/06 - SNL Announces Guest Hosts, Including Aubrey Plaza; Paramount+ Orders Series Starring Nicole Kidman
    01/05 - Stop-Motion Animated Series Shape Island Premieres January 20 on Apple TV+; ABC's New Year's Eve Coverage is Still Rockin'
    01/04 - Full House Removed from MeTV; Return to Outer Banks for Season 3 on February 23 on Netflix
    01/03 - getTV Acquires Magnum, P.I.; Game Show Network's Newest Game Show
    01/02 - Happy New Year; Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Acquires Drop Dead Diva
    01/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 2, 2023)
    12/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Talk Prepares for Big Changes in 2023; The X Factor Potentially Returning to the US
    12/30 - In Memoriam: Remembering the Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2022