August 20, 2011


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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The pilot for HOMEGROWN, produced for CBS by Warner Bros Television, seems determined to hit as many dysfunctional-but-loving-family cliches as it can.  We have one grouchy alpha male in a household of women (here played by Gerald McRaney), the multiple generations living in one sitcom (huge living room!) house, the single mom daughter (Becki Newton) and her seemingly perfect but actually neurotic sister (Tricia O’Kelly), the addled but still quippy grandma.  (The role of the slacker, maybe stoner, younger guy is apportioned to the single mom’s boyfriend instead of being a younger brother.)  All bases are covered, even the dad of the single mom’s son:  a hunky, irresponsible fireman who drives her crazy but still–no, really!–strikes sparks with her.

Admittedly, the bar for old-fashioned TV is a lot higher at CBS than at any other network not called TV Land, but Homegrown is so by-the-numbers that all it elicits is a yawn.  It was written by the team of Jackie and Jeff Filgo, who had huge success on That 70s Show and more recently worked on The New Adventures of Old Christine, and could have come out of a kit.  Will grandpa’s suspicions that the 12-year old boy is looking at porn online turn out to be true?  Of course.  (Since this is CBS, the prudishness even extends to a website we never see–we’re told he’s looking at girls in bikinis tickling each other, which suggests that the boy could really use some tutoring in how to operate a search engine.)  Will everyone awkwardly try to tell the kid about the birds and the bees?  Sure.  Will it look like the single mom is spending the night with her boyfriend, but really she’s somewhere quite innocent?  Absolutely.  Will everyone who’s been fighting unite for hugs in the last minute?  Check.
Homegrown is no great loss, except that it wastes two genuine TV stars in McRaney and Newton.  Watching McRaney do his macho-but-softhearted schtick could teach Tim Allen a lesson or two, and Newton spent years stealing every scene of Ugly Betty that wasn’t nailed down; even with the most hackneyed dialogue, they bring charm to their characters and rapport to their scenes together. They’re a good team… just not on this show.
Sometimes it’s not hard to see why a network passes on a pilot–CBS has limited need for new half-hours to begin with, and this year 2 Broke Girls and How To Be A Gentleman were clearly better.  The retro nature of the project would shut Homegrown out of most other venues, so the parties involved will move on to hopefully greener pastures in the new development season that’s already getting underway. 
The Sked’s Verdict:  The Network Was Right
Read more about TV’s new shows at THE SKED PILOT REPORT.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."