Once again, 20th Century Fox TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman turned to one of the studio’s biggest hits for inspiration in creating their annual holiday video card. This time, the duo are channeling their inner bikers in a Sons Of Anarchy-themed video written by series’ creator Kurt Sutter and featuring the cast of the hit FX drama, co-produced with FX Prods. Like the Modern Family spoof 2 years ago, written by series’ co-creator Steve Levitan, and the Glee video last year, written by co-creator Ian Brennan and directed by co-creator Ryan Murphy, the new card too revolves around actors and writers’ favorite topic around the holidays — getting more money.
How I Met Your Mother co-creators/executive producers Carter Bays & Craig Thomas have teamed with fellow HIMYM executive producer Chris Harris for a single-camera comedy project that landed at Fox with a put pilot commitment after a bidding war. Titled The Goodwin Games, the comedy revolves around three siblings who reconnect after the death of their father. 20th Century Fox TV, where Bays, Thomas and Harris are under deals, is producing, with Bays, Thomas and Harris executive producing. This is Bays and Thomas’ second stab at development since the launch of their CBS hit How I Met Your Mother. Two years ago, they also teamed with HIMYM writer-producers, Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly, to co-write multi-camera comedy Livin’ on a Prayer, which went to pilot at CBS but missed the cut to series. HIMYM is off to a red-hot start this season. It premiered with a 4.3/17 in 18-49 at 8 PM last Monday, up a whopping 31% from last fall, a surge rarely seen for a series in its seventh season. A second HIMYM episode at 8:30 PM rose even further to a 5.2/13. Bays and Thomas are with UTA, Harris is with CAA.
Is Fox about to become the network of the Deschanel sisters? Indie movie darling Zooey Deschanel is in negotiations to star in Fox’s untitled single-camera comedy pilot from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Zooey’s sister, Emily, of course stars in the veteran Fox procedural Bones. Both the new pilot and Bones are produced by 20th TV. The Liz Meriwether project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. It centers on Jessica, a role that Deschanel is eying, an optimistic but unlucky in love elementary school teacher who, after her most recent break-up, moves out of her apartment with her ex and moves in with 3 juvenile guys.
This would mark the first regular TV role for (500) Days of Summer star Deschanel, who was recently attached to star in and executive produce an HBO half-hour project based on Pamela Des Barres’ memoir I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, which ultimately didn’t go forward. She previously did an arc on Showtime’s Weeds and guest starred opposite her sister in an episode of Bones. On the film side, Deschanel most recently co-starred in the Sundance entry My Idiot Brother.
EXCLUSIVE: In a rare TV directing gig, feature helmer Shawn Levy has signed on to direct the Fox single-camera comedy pilot Family Album. The pilot hails from 20th Century Fox TV where 21 Laps/Adelstein Prod., Levy’s company with Marty Adelstein, is based. Family Album centers on a headstrong patriarch who, determined to get some quality family time, embarks on a vacation with his extended family. In the vein of real-time drama 24 and short-lived ABC comedy Big Day, where each season chronicled the events that took place during the course of one day, each season of Family Album will take place during one summer vacation.
Levy has a long-standing relationship with 20th TV. His only previous major pilot directing gig was in 2006 on the 20th TV-produced Pepper Dennis. The pilot went to series at the WB, with Levy serving as an executive producer. Levy is also expected to serve as an executive producer on Family Album, with 21 Laps/Adelstein taking on a producing credit. In its first development season, 21 Laps/Adelstein, which was launched last summer, set up a number of projects. One of them has been picked up to pilot at ABC, the Jack Burditt comedy The Last Day of Man, which has Tim Allen circling. On the feature side, Levy, director of such movies as the Night at the Museum franchise and Date Night, is now in post-production on Real Steel, which will be released next … Read More »
After 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman’s uproarious Modern Family-flavored holiday video card last year written and directed by Steve Levitan, it was natural for the duo to turn to the studio’s other monster hit, Fox’s Glee, for greeting card inspiration next. Here is this year’s video, written by Glee co-creator/executive producer Ian Brennan, who writes Sue Sylvester’s (Jane Lynch) dialogue on the show, and directed by Glee co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy.
EXCLUSIVE: American Dad executive producer Nahnatchka Khan is emerging as the comedy star of this buying season with a second half-hour project that sparked heated bidding. A month after Fox won the bidding war for her single-camera family comedy Connected, ABC just landed Khan’s relationship comedy Dealbreaker in a similarly competitive situation. Both projects are produced by 20th TV where Khan is under an overall deal. Khan will co-write Dealbreaker, which landed a premium script commitment with penalty from ABC, with American Dad writer Laura McCreary. It is based on the blog by comics Dave Horwitz and Marisa Pinson and their recent book of the same name. The blog and the book are described as a “hilarious reference guide to the qualities that, when discovered, transform the ‘date you hope to go home with’ into the ‘date you pray never calls again’” and as a catalogue of characteristics that serve as early warning signs of possible relationship discontent. Ted Field and Mike Weber of Radar Pictures, which had optioned the rights to the book, will serve as executive producers on the TV project. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It will be an even larger 24 reunion on Fox’s upcoming prehistoric drama Terra Nova, which is executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin. Long-time 24 director-executive producer Jon Cassar has joined the 13-episode midseason series as an executive producer and regular series director. He joins fellow 24 executive producers Brandon Braga and David Fury who are executive producing Terra Nova. (Braga also serves as the series’ showrunner). Cassar, who won an Emmy for his directing work on Fox/20th TV/Imagine’s 24 and shared the show’s 2006 best drama series Emmy, will direct multiple episodes of Terra Nova following the pilot episode, which is being helmed by Alex Graves. “This is a huge coup for us,” said Dana Walden, chairman of 20th TV, which is co-producing Terra Nova with DreamWorks TV, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment. “Jon is one of the best directors we have ever worked with, and this project is a huge priority for our company.”
Terra Nova, one of the highlights at the Fox upfront presentation, stars Jason O’Mara as a father from 2149 who, along with his family, is transported back 85 million years to prehistoric Earth where they join Terra Nova, a colony of humans with a second chance to build a civilization. For those keeping score, Cassar will be the 11th executive producer on Terra Nova, joining Spielberg, Chernin, Braga, Fury, Kaplan, the pilot’s writers Craig Silverstein and Kelly Marcel, Katherine Pope, Justin Falvey and … Read More »