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The next batch of TV comedies

The next batch of TV comedies — We look at shows in development for the fall season from the major networks

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Think you’ll never see a sitcom about theoretical physicists trying to score chicks? You might — it’s in development at CBS. The networks are dutifully prepping 50-plus fall comedy pilots that could revolutionize the form…or never be heard from again. Our fingers are crossed for this promising group below.

AREA 57 (NBC)
It’s just your typical workplace comedy. If, you know, your workplace happened to be secretly located in the Nevada desert. And if your job was to keep tabs on an unruly, conniving alien played by none other than Paul Reubens.

THE THICK OF IT (ABC)
A BBC adaptation set in the office of a junior congressman? Starring Michael McKean? Directed by Christopher Guest? Exec-produced by Arrested Development‘s Mitchell Hurwitz? Yeah, we’ll be saving a TiVo Season Pass for this one.

I’M WITH STUPID (NBC)
In a different kind of BBC adaptation, an acerbic wheelchair-bound man (Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s Christopher Thornton) takes on an optimistic homeless dude as his roommate at a group home. Best buddy comedy ever?

ACTION NEWS (Fox)
A disgraced star anchor (Kelsey Grammer) attempts to recapture past glory by returning to a Pittsburgh TV station and pairing up with his former deskmate/rival (Patricia Heaton). If only this show had an Anchorman connection. Oh, wait: Fred Willard is in the house!

ME & LEE? (Fox)
From the producers of Weeds comes a new type of what are they smoking? project: A dentist with chronic back pain (Jamie Kennedy) winds up with a cool bionic spine, courtesy of the Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors (as himself).

I’M IN HELL (CBS)
Jason Biggs plays a Wall Street slickster who’s killed in a ”BlackBerry-related car accident,” but because hell is overcrowded, he must live his own form of it right here on earth. And we all know he has some serious pie-humping to atone for.

NICE GIRLS DON’T GET THE CORNER OFFICE (ABC)
Can a good girl be a badass in the corporate world? The series — based on Lois Frankel’s book — boasts a fun cast that includes Ugly Betty/Heroes supporting player Jayma Mays, 24‘s Gregory Itzin, and no-credit-needed’s Jane Curtin.

DASH 4 CASH (The CW)
A behind-the-scenes comedy about a reality show in which six pairs of contestants (including Veronica Mars‘ Jonathan Chase) embark on a 3,000-mile race to win a buried chest of money. As in real life, runners-up will be booted — and receive a lifetime supply of Dignity Loss.