Rick and Morty writer leaving show, lands ABC sitcom pilot
The Emmy-winning writer of an acclaimed Rick and Morty episode scored an ABC comedy sitcom pilot order, but isn’t returning to the Adult Swim series.
Jessica Gao landed a pilot deal for an untitled comedy about “a first-generation Chinese-American woman who struggles to set healthy boundaries with her crazy, exhausting family. When her wealthy grandmother dies and names Janet the sole inheritor, she suddenly finds herself the unwilling new matriarch of the family she’s spent her life trying to keep at arm’s length.”
Gao was an executive story editor for Rick and Morty season 3 and was wrote the gonzo “Pickle Rick” episode. EW has confirmed she’s not returning for the upcoming fourth season. Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who provided audio commentary for the episode, praised one of the “Pickle Rick” monologues as “maybe the best writing in 2017.”
Rick and Morty hired some new writers for season 3 in an effort to have a more gender-balanced writers room. Some members of the show’s fandom attacked those writers online and doxxed one of them (Gao has said she wasn’t the one targeted). Co-creator Dan Harmon blasted those fans in an EW interview. “I’m on a Twitter sabbatical, so the last thing I saw about that was [the Reddit thread detailing the harassment], and I’ve seen the tweets they’ve sent to the [unnamed] female writer,” Harmon says. “I was familiar going into the third season, having talked to Felicia Day, that any high-profile women get doxxed, they get harassed, they get threatened, they get slandered. And part of it is a testosterone-based subculture patting themselves on the back for trolling these women … I think it’s all disgusting.”
Check out EW’s complete list of network pilots to see all the ideas that broadcasters have brewing for next season.