FreeAgents-NBC

When Does It Start: Wednesday 14th September at 10.30pm EST on NBC (before moving to its regular slot at 8.30pm)

In A Nutshell: A newly divorced dad and a single woman mourning the death of her fiancée try to move on with their dating lives…

What’s It About: Alex (Hank Azaria) and Helen (Kathryn Hahn) work in PR, are newly single and just can’t help falling into bed with one another. But while their friends encourage them to re-enter the dating world and they try to keep it professional in the workplace, their relationship continues to grow.

Based on a British sitcom of the same name, Free Agents features one of the stars of the UK version – Buffy’s Anthony Head as the company boss – is produced by the UK creator and features the same dark tone of the original. Could it be the new Office?

What’s The Competition: Survivor on CBS, H8R on The CW, Suburgatory on ABC, The X Factor on Fox

Will It Succeed: Well not if the trailer is anything to go by!

Wow, that is one crappy little teaser for a show. Did you seriously laugh at a single moment in that trailer? For me joke after joke fell painfully flat, not helped by the clearly dislikable characters populating this new NBC sitcom (I instantly hated the bitchy assistant!)

Sure NBC achieved (limited) success with the workplace comedy The Office – but that was a whole different show with an unusual documentary look and a great pedigree from the UK. That’s not the case with Free Agents which actually only lasted one season in Britain and produced a paltry 6 episodes. That was back in 2009 and the show hasn’t been heard from since so I’m surprised NBC are investing so much time and money in bringing the concept to the US, especially when there are biggest UK hits that could be transplanted (i.e. Outnumbered, The IT Crowd).

As for the show’s cast – I’m not sure they’ll attract too much buzz. Azaria is a respected comedy performer but still largely known for his Simpsons voices (he brings the likes of Moe, Apu and Chief Wiggum to life) and his movie sidekick / villain roles. He certainly deserves a breakout, signature show of his own – I just don’t think this is it. Then there’s Hahn, mainly known for Crossing Jordan, which ended its run 4 years ago. Up against heavily hyped shows, with big name actors, I’m not sure the pair will be able to break through the clutter.

Free Agents is being paired with Up All Night, a similarly woeful idea in my opinion, and together the two must fight off some pretty formidable – and young skewing – competition.

I still think The X Factor is going to be the biggest threat of all, a potential show slayer in the way that American Idol was in its early days. If NBC truly believes in Free Agents, they may have to be willing to move it around the schedule.

Chances Of A Second Season: Not good. I think we could be looking at one of the first casualties of the Fall season unless the show gets funny fast!