Former 'SNL'er Rachel Dratch To Co-Star In 'Dead Boss' Pilot, Ensemble's Heating Up

Well this show's gonna be awesome: Former Saturday Night Live cast member Rachel Dratch is joining the ensemble for next season's Fox comedy pilot Dead Boss, making this our most anticipated pilot by cast alone, and Fox a very, very smart network. As a reminder, here's the concept for the show, via Deadline:

Dead Boss is a comedic mystery that finds overachiever Helen Stephens, who is wrongfully convicted of murdering her boss and is forced to rely on her train wreck of a sister to prove her innocence.

Previously cast in these roles? There's 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski in the lead role of Helen Stephens, and Amy Sedaris has been tapped to be one of Helen's "nosy, fault-finding co-workers and the gatekeeper to their boss. There's more, but those are the ones who are already very noted and respected comedy actors, and Dratch is the perfect addition to a group like that. For her part, she'll be playing "Christine, Helen’s cellmate, a sunny but emotionally needy arsonist who will help Helen out of anything, except prison."

Sounds like someone was inspired by Orange is the New Black.

Fox seems to be making pretty solid decisions these days when it comes to their comedy lineup — they've pretty much stolen the mantel of Great Place Where Comedies go from the long-fumbling NBC, in part by noting the mistakes NBC's been making these past few years and taking the opposite approach. Examples? Well, when Mindy Kaling pitched The Mindy Project to NBC and they turned it down, she went to Fox instead. When Saturday Night Live writer John Mulaney (marked by many as one of the next household names of comedy) set up his sitcom Mulaney over at NBC they scrapped the project; Fox picked it up instead, and it's already on its fall lineup.

As Vulture noted recently, the shrinking sitcom ratings that have been terrifying networks like NBC for years may just be the best thing for fostering smart, relatively niche comedies that leave people wanting more (The Mindy Project, New Girl), as opposed to ones that simply settle for trying to re-harness the blockbuster ratings of yesteryear (The Michael J. Fox Show). Fox seems to understand this to a certain degree, renewing Mindy Project (they seem to understand Kaling is to them now the same kind of voice Tina Fey was for early 30 Rock, and a face worth keeping around despite the ratings) and fostering shows that put great voices in comedy center stage. Rachel Dratch is one of those great comedy voices, and with the rest of that ensemble, Fox seems to be setting up something that could really cement them as the place to be.