Nellie Andreeva

Fox has made a late comedy buy, a half-hour project from actor-comedian J.B. Smoove and The Office writer-producer Aaron Shure to star the Curb Your Enthusiasm standout. It hails from 20th TV and Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s studio-based company 21 Laps/Adelstein. The project was pitched by Shure, Smoove and Levy, with Fox brass buying it in the room with a script commitment. Co-created by Smoove and Shure, the untitled blue-collar comedy, which shares some aspects with Roseanne, centers on a husband and a father (Smoove) who has gotten divorced but, with the economy being as it is, can’t afford to move out and instead moves into the family home’s basement. It will revolve around the man’s relationship with his family, his parents, his co-workers and a guy in a nursing home. “He’s trying to get his life back from the basement up, from the ground up,” Levy said. “He is consistently trying to do the right thing but constantly trips over his feet.”

The collaboration between Levy and Smoove stems from Smoove’s small role in the Levy-directed feature Date Night. Following the April release of the action-comedy starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey, Levy said he received numerous comments about how hilarious Smoove’s sequence was. (The comedian played a cab driver whose car gets attached to Carell and Fey’s when the two crash into his cab.) When Levy and Adelstein launched their TV company in June, one of Levy’s first calls was to Smoove who already had the seeds of an idea for a single-camera comedy largely centered on a family. Separately, Smoove had an existing relationship with 20th TV and Fox via a talent holding deal the two recently had with him.  The producers looked at several other writers before settling on Everybody Loves Raymond veteran Shure, now a co-executive producer on The Office, whom Levy knew through The Office star Carell. “I like that Aaron brings the sharp wit of The Office with the domestic comedy backdrop of Raymond.” Shure, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements are executive producing the project, with Smoove serving as a producer. Smoove recently wrapped The Sitter opposite Jonah Hill, booked a role in Cameron Crowe’s We Bought a Zoo and signed on to voice a character in Ice Age 4.  Smoove, repped by WME and Rain Management, will also reprise his role as the fast-talking, foul-mouthed Leon Black in 10 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s upcoming eighth season.

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