A.P. Bio

Glenn Howerton plays a disgraced Harvard scholar who returns to his hometown to teach high school Advanced Placement biology in NBC's new comedy, "A.P. Bio." 

NBC

NBC will offer a sneak peek this week of “A.P. Bio,” a comedy from executive producers Seth Meyers and Lorne Michaels starring Glenn Howerton from FXX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The series will preview at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, where it will air beginning March 1 after NBC finishes with the Winter Olympics. It will take the place of “Great News,” which finished its 13-episode second season on Jan. 25.

In “A.P. Bio,” Howerton, who may or may not return for the 13th season of “Always Sunny” (he’s been noncommittal about it), plays Jack Griffin, a disgraced Harvard scholar, who, after losing out on his dream job, returns to his hometown to teach high school Advanced Placement biology.

Teaching is a loose term. Jack instead enlists the help of his overly bright students to help him take down his nemesis. Patton Oswalt is the school’s principal, playing the straight man to Jack’s antics.

The premise here may sound a bit like Gabe Kaplan in “Welcome Back Kotter” or Howard Hessman in “Head of the Class,” but it comes off more like Joel McHale in “Community,” with Howerton’s character being in a place where he doesn’t want to be, surrounded by a bunch of eccentric characters. Much of the comedy is derived from the students’ and other teachers’ interactions with the caustic Jack.

The humor is biting, which you would expect from Meyers, Michaels and Howerton, whose been at his biting best for 12 seasons on “Always Sunny.” And while Howerton is the star, it’s really the supporting players, especially the nerdy kids, who make this one kind of fun. Grade: B.

News and notes

* Netflix will release Friday its new drama, “Altered Carbon.” The 10-episode series stars Joel Kinnaman (“House of Cards”) and James Purefoy (“The Following”) in a story of murder, love, sex and betrayal set 300 years in the future. It’s based on Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novel.

* It sounds like HBO’s Emmy-winning comedy “Veep” will return with its final season in 2019. Co-star Matt Walsh told Entertainment Weekly production will begin in August following star Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ completion of cancer treatments.

* Amazon canceled three of its comedy series: Tig Notaro’s “One Mississippi” after two seasons and newbies “I Love Dick,” starring Kevin Bacon, and “Jean-Claude Van Johnson.” It renewed “The Tick” for a second season. “The Tick” continues its first season with six new episodes on Feb. 23.

* “Grey’s Anatomy” star Ellen Pompeo signed a two-year contract extension. Reports say she’ll make $550,000 per episode, making her the highest-paid actress on a TV drama. “Grey’s” is in its 14th season, and if ABC renews it for two more years, which now seems likely, it will surpass “E.R.” as the longest-running medical drama in TV history. “E.R.” ran for 15 seasons on NBC from 1994 to 2009.

* “General Hospital” fans will be seeing a lot less of Laura, and possibly not at all. The soap didn’t renew Genie Francis as a series regular, dropping her to a recurring status. EW.com reported her agent saying a storyline would have to be “ideal” for her to return.

* Quick hits -- Freeform has renewed “grown-ish” for a second season … Netflix cast Paul Bettany as Prince Philip to star opposite Olivia Coleman’s Queen Elizabeth in season three of “The Crown” … Keiynan Lonsdale (“The Flash’s” Wally West) has joined DC’s “Legend of Tomorrow” on The CW as a series regular … “Riverdale” will air a musical episode on April 18 on The CW.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSjeffkorbelik.

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