Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Neophyte scribes Annie Harnick and Nick Cion have made their first pitch sale to Sidney Kimmel Entertainment, for an untitled romantic comedy that is aimed at a young audience. The newcomers certainly know the terrain, as Harnick is a junior at Harvard and Cion is a junior at Princeton. Each is 20 years old, making them far younger than most of the scribes Deadline writes about.

They were repped in the deal by ICM Partners, and there is a back story here. Esther Newberg, the powerhouse ICM publishing agent, asked her West Coast counterparts to read a script by the duo, called The Valedictorian. She didn’t tell them who the writers were. And the agents swear that it wasn’t until after they sparked to the script and moved to sign the writers that Newberg admitted that Cion is her great nephew. The agents sent out their script, and got 21 positive responses to the 22 producers.

The scribes met with all the producers. In their meeting with SKE’s Sidney Kimmel and his production president Matt Berenson, they mentioned another project idea. That resulted in their first deal, and while Kimmel didn’t want to blow the concept by revealing it, it must have been good because it’s only the second pitch the company has bought in its history. While The Valedictorian didn’t sell in the first round of meetings, the agency will refocus the effort on the indie set.

The newbie scribes have been friends since seventh grade, and they wrote the script while both were doing internships between semesters. Since this deal follows the $3.6 million book pact that Lena Dunham made last week, it indicates to me that the media business is plugging into a burgeoning young generation. That is somewhat exciting, but since I have clothes in my closet older than these screenwriters (I’m not saying they fit), it’s hard not to feel ancient even recounting this story.

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