Chris Rock has been tapped to direct and executive produce Saving Kenan, NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot, starring and executive produced by SNL star Kenan Thompson. Rock, an SNL alum himself, is reuniting with SNL boss Lorne Michaels whose Broadway Video company produces the project alongside Universal TV.
Written by Jackie Clarke, Saving Kenan centers on a newly widowed dad (Thompson) determined to be everything for his kids while begrudgingly letting his persistent father-in-law become more involved in their lives.
Thompson, a married father of two, and Clarke executive produce with Michaels and Andrew Singer for Broadway Video. Rock will continue as an executive producer if the pilot is picked up to series.
Thompson likely will leave SNL — at least as a full-time cast member — should Saving Kenan goes to series as the two would be difficult to juggle. He is currently in his 16th year on the venerable late-night sketch program.
While Rock was an SNL cast member for three seasons from 1990-93, a decade before Thompson joined the series in 2003, Rock has returned for a hosting stint and several cameos during Thompson’s tenure. You can watch the two of them plating off each other in promo sports for Rock’s 2014 hosting gig below.
Rock is next set to direct Kevin Hart in Co-Parenting, a Will Packer-produced comedy for Universal Pictures. In TV, he directed an episode of the UPN comedy series Everybody Hates Chris, which he also created and executive produced, as well as Amy Schumer’s 2015 comedy special Live at the Apollo, which earned him an Emmy nomination.
As an actor, Rock starred on the Adam Sandler Netflix comedy Week Of. He’ll also be seen in Dolemite, the Craig Brewer-directed film that stars Eddie Murphy as the iconic blaxploitation star, and will headline the next season of FX series Fargo.
As a comedian, Rock signed a blockbuster deal with Netflix for two standup specials, the first of which, Tamborine, was released last year.
Rock is repped by ICM Partners and Morris Yorn.
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