Undateable will do it live. EW has exclusively learned that the NBC sitcom will air a special one-hour live episode on Tuesday, May 5 at 9 p.m., with two separate productions for the East Coast and West Coast.
“Everything with Undateable starts with the fact that [showrunner] Adam [Sztykiel] and I like the show, we think the performers are funny, and we’d do anything to give the show a shot,” executive producer Bill Lawrence tells EW. “We saw how much success NBC was having, specifically with live programming. [NBC Chairman] Bob Greenblatt called up and asked if we’d do an hour-long live sitcom, an episode for both coasts. And we foolishly said yes, until we realized what an over-the-top nightmare this could possibly be. But I think it’ll be fun.”
NBC has gone live with sitcoms before, notably with 30 Rock, which produced two live episodes in its seven-year run. The network has also produced two live musicals: The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!
Lawrence wouldn’t share many plot details, but said that the cast would not be solely bottled up at Justin’s [Brent Morin] bar, adding there would be set changes. He teased there would be a musical component with big guest stars—not a complete shock with a musical episode of Scrubs on his resume.
The biggest challenge for Lawrence? Retaining the show’s energy while ensuring the comics don’t crack each other up. (He’s most worried about Morin and Bianca Kajlich losing their composure, pegging Chris D’Elia as the chief instigator.) “All these dudes—and the ladies—constantly make each other laugh out loud during our normal tapings, and if they do that during our live show, I am going to kill them,” Lawrence deadpanned. “We let the comics riff. When we do it in front of an audience, they’ll often go so far off topic that they’ll call back to us and say, ‘Hey, how do we get back to what this scene’s about?’
“For us, it’s preserving the spontaneity of the show,” Lawrence continued, “and at the same time, not go down as being the worst live show of all time.”
Undateable—which stars D’Elia, Morin, Kajlich, Ron Funches, Rick Glassman, David Fynn, and Bridgit Mendler—starts its second season on March 17 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Catch a sneak preview of the new season.