[5/20 Update: Fox canned this show a couple weeks ago (before it became a series).]
(Los Angeles, CA) – In 1983, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas starred in a comedy film called Strange Brew, focused around the fictitious Elsinore Brewery in Canada. 27 years later, Fox Broadcasting Co. has lined up a pilot for a small brewery-centered sitcom of the same name.
The Hollywood Reporter, the Beernews.org equivalent of the hollywood world, broke the news in late January. “Strange Brew” is about a small but successful family-owned brewery and the family’s struggles with working and living together. The announcement was met with mixed reactions in the beer community. Brewers Association Director, Paul Gatza, was the most outspoken about his concerns for the concept:
“I guess if they are going to get many aspects of technical brewing wrong and misrepresent the industry, I hope they are really funny in doing it. Each week a different malfunction to overcome. Please let the brewer wear rubber boots.”
“Will and Grace” creators, David Kohan and Mitch Mutchnik, are behind the new “Strange Brew.” “Will and Grace” was nominated for 27 Golden Globes and won 51 awards per IMDB so these guys know how to run a television show . . . but what do they know about small breweries? That remains to be seen.
One interesting note is that the writers are working with Warner Brothers on this project. Warner Brothers happens to be partnered with Beer Wars as well. This is most likely a coincidence but maybe one of the execs is a diehard craft beer lover.
THR reports that Marc Buckland will be sitting in the director’s chair for the pilot. Buckland won an Emmy for directing “My Name is Earl” and was nominated for another for “Scrubs.”
Laurie Metcalf, a.k.a. Jackie from “Roseanne,” will be starring as the mother of the family. ‘Memba her? She won a few Emmy’s for her role on the show. Here is the official description for her character, Janie, per Entertainment Weekly:
“In her 40s, Ted’s attractive and high strung wife, mother to Clay, Kyle, Lizzy and Michael, she’s newly sober, and being newly sober at a brewery with a family of brewery workers is not a happy or easy thing. She’s also trying to stop swearing, and it’s a toss up which vice is more difficult to shed. Though dealing with her own issues, she is still a source of strength to her husband and family.”
THR also reports that Jere Burns will be starring opposite of Metcalf as the father and President of the brewery with Aya Cash, Skylar Astin and Mo Mandel cast as the children. The actors, none of which I am familiar with, all appear to be in their early-mid 20s so don’t expect this to be another “Home Improvement.”
Here is a description of their roles from The Futon Critic:
“He’ll play Ted, the patriarch of the Forrest clan, who was ‘once a weathered ourdoorsmen [however] the last 10 years has turned him into a withered indoorsmen.’ [...] Cash will play ‘beautiful, highly-intelligent, highly-underachieving’ Lizzy, the eldest sibling who works as Ted’s secretary. Astin and Mandel then are believed to be playing fraternal twins Kyle, ‘the alpha twin,’ and Clay, ‘the sweeter, gentler one.’”
So who is going to be the Head Brewer?
Remember that the project is still in the pilot stage so it may not even bloom into an actual television series but there is certainly enough star-power behind this for it to be a contender. Shooting will begin soon.