Mike Fleming

Paul Feig, who directed Bridesmaids and hatched the series Freaks And Geeks, has gotten the go-ahead from Sky Atlantic HD for Ronna & Beverly, a six part mock talk show featuring two fifty-something Jewish American mothers who ask blunt questions of real guests and offer advice those guests probably don’t need. They filmed a pilot episode with Mad Men star Jon Hamm and Episodes star Stephen Mangan among the first guests. The hostesses are played by American writers and performers Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo who got the series after a series of critically acclaimed stage shows in the UK and the US. Feig’s US-based Classy Productions is producing with Hat Trick Productions in the UK. Chaffin and Denbo have been on Feig’s radar for several years. They first tried a pilot for Showtime, but it didn’t get picked up. “British audiences responded to these overbearing American characters, and the show is Ab Fab meets everyone’s obnoxious parents who ask horrifying questions,” Feig told me. Part of the reason he was in the UK was his work in rewriting Bridget Joness Baby, which he was going to direct until he came to a parting of the ways with the principals. “There were a lot of moving pieces and varying opinions that sadly proved impossible to navigate around,” said Feig, who wasn’t sure the movie would happen. He’s firming up plans for his next feature comedy. And while Kristen Wiig has said she wasn’t interested in another installment of Bridesmaids right now, Feig said he is holding out hope there will be one, but only when Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo figure it out. “People will come up to me and say, good you’re not doing another, but when you actually have a hit with characters the audiences likes, why not give them more? There are intelligent people behind this, and once they find a smart next step…” For now, Feig is focused on making Ronna & Beverly work in the UK, and then hopefully in the US.