‘Run The Burbs’ Taps Jennica Harper and Nelu Handa as New Showrunners Ahead of Season 3

May 9, 2023

By Amber Dowling | Variety

Jennica Harper and Nelu Handa are taking over showrunning duties on CBC’s “Run The Burbs” for the comedy’s third season. The show was renewed a week before the Season 2 finale in March for a planned winter 2024 broadcast.

Harper and Handa are long-time collaborators, having worked together for three seasons on the Bell Media series “JANN” starring Jann Arden. Harper served as showrunner on all three seasons of the series, along with the 2022 holiday special. The Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award winner’s other credits include “Spencer Sisters,” “Skymed” and “Cardinal.”

Handa wrote on the first two seasons of “Run The Burbs” and also won a Peabody Award for her contribution to the first season of the CBC/Max series “Sort Of.” In 2021 she also won a Canadian Screen Award for best writing on “The Baroness Von Sketch Show.” In February, she was one of six participants named to the second year of CBC, BIPOC TV & Film and CFC’s Showrunner Catalyst Program.

“Run The Burbs” was co-created by Andrew Phung (“Kim’s Convenience” ) and filmmaker Scott Townend (“The Secret Marathon”). The half-hour comedy follows the Pham family, a Vietnamese-South Asian-Canadian family that takes a different approach to living life to the fullest in the suburbs. Phung and Rakhee Morzaria star as the central couple. The series is produced by Pier 21 Films and distributed by Fifth Season.

Other Season 3 writers include Phung, Townend, Jay Vaidya, Sara Peters, Angelica Mendizabal, and Mandeq Hassan. The series is currently in the scripting stage but is expected to start production in and around Hamilton, Ontario, later this year.

“I’m so pumped to be working with Jennica and Nelu on Season 3,” Phung said in a statement. “I’m a big fan of Jennica’s work, and she brings such joy and relatability to the writers room. She leads with such a calming presence. I’ve worked with Nelu for the past two seasons of ‘Run The Burbs,’ and have loved every minute of it. She’s so thoughtful and hilarious, and her experiences have greatly added to the development of the show and its characters. I’m truly honored and so excited that they are co-leading the show together.”

Harper and Handa take over showrunning duties from Anthony Q. Farrell, who stepped in during the second season after original showrunner Shebli Zarghami departed at the end of Season 1. In an interview with Variety last month, Farrell confirmed he was exiting the series due to his own busy slate.

“There is a lot of potential and opportunity for the show to really grow and explore representation in a way you can’t do on any other show,” he said. “I don’t know of any show in the world with a Vietnamese dad and an Indian mom. So there’s an opportunity and an obligation to explore those cultural stories on a show like that.”

“Season 2 was incredible. It told culturally specific yet super relatable stories, the characters deepened, and yet the whole season really amped up the funny,” said Harper in a statement. “The goal for Season 3 is to have fun paying off a bunch of storylines started last season. Andrew and Camille are both working their dream jobs—but what does that mean for their work/life balance?”

“I’m proud of the stories we get to tell,” added Handa. “Exploring the experiences of a modern Canadian couple with rich cultural backgrounds is both very rewarding personally and relatable to so many viewers who are excited to see themselves reflected on Canadian television.”