EXCLUSIVE: ABC Family‘s upcoming drama series Chasing Life has not been assigned a premiere date yet, but it just received a back order for seven episodes. The cast was given the good news today, just in time for Thanksgiving. The back order brings the first season of Chasing Life to 20 episodes, which is ABC Family’s standard for a full season. Chasing Life, from Kapital Entertainment, Lionsgate, Televisa and BV Family Prods, hails from the same pilot batch as ABC Family dramas The Fosters and Twisted. The other two had initial orders for 10 episodes and received back 10 orders after strong early ratings performance last summer. For Chasing Life, whose original order was for 13 episodes, the back order comes ahead of its premiere, slated for next year, representing a strong vote of confidence by the network. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has teamed with writer Justin Adler (Better Off Ted), director John Hamburg (Meet The Parents franchise) and producer Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors) for single-camera comedy 30 And Counting, which has received a script commitment with a sizable penalty. Based on the 2013 Sky Living series created by written by Chris Little and Tom Vinnicombe, 30 And Counting revolves around three college friends who are convinced that while their 20s were a time of discovery and their 40s a time of responsibility, their 30s is the decade that will define them. That leaves them 3,652 days to set the course for the rest of their lives. The clock is now ticking … 30 and counting. Adler is writing the adaptation, with Hamburg set to direct. Warner Bros. TV is producing, with Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Bwark Prods., producer of the original series. Adler, Hamburg and Kaplan executive produce with Little, Vinnicombe and Bwark’s Iain Morris.
EXCLUSIVE: From Scranton to Detroit. Former The Office writer-producer Justin Spitzer is doing another single-camera workplace comedy, this time set at a Motor …
EXCLUSIVE: NBC has closed deals for a comedy project from two actresses in writer-producer roles. The network has put in development a multi-camera comedy executive produced by Don’t Trust The B star Krysten Ritter and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment and written by CSI alumna Liz Vassey through Universal TV. Based on an idea by Kaplan, the comedy revolves around a group of six friends who meet each Wednesday night for their weekly bowling league and centers on two of them — a couple, now broken up, who refuse to give up custody of their bowling league. Kaplan took the idea to Ritter, an avid bowling fan, who came on board as an executive producer. Vassey, who has developed with NBC and Uni TV in the past, was tapped to pen the script.
Related: PILOT SEASON: The Overachievers 2012
Aaron Kaplan. Proving that his fast start as a producer was not just beginner’s luck, the former WMA agent has become a force to be reckoned with during pilot season. This year he landed five pilot orders, one more than last year and a new personal best. All five are comedies — ABC’s Pulling, Bad Management and the untitled Cullen brothers project, CBS’ Friends With Better Lives and NBC’s The Gates — as are Kaplan’s on-air series, ABC’s The Neighbors and Nick at Nite’s Wendell & Vinnie, as well as another Nick pilot, Instant Mom. On the drama side, he has pilots Terminals, which is nearing a series pickup at ABC Family, and HR at Lifetime, which is casting. In a world of vertical integration, Kaplan operates as an independent one-man shop.
Another independent, management/production company 3 Arts, has four pilots, also all comedies: NBC’s untitled Greg Daniels/Robert Padnick, untitled Owen Ellickson & Craig Robinson and untitled John Mulaney/Lorne Michaels projects, as well as Fox’s untitled Dan Goor/Mike Schur project.
Writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are having a banner year. The Office alums and writers of the 2011 feature Bad Teacher are behind three broadcast comedy pilots — ABC’s Pulling, which they wrote and executive produce, as well as ABC’s Trophy Wife and CBS’ Bad Teacher adaptation, which they executive produce. Additionally, their HBO comedy pilot with Stephen Merchant, Hello Ladies, was picked up to series.
Fox has put in development Upstairs, a single-camera comedy from recent Columbia University graduate Shawn Wines and producer Aaron Kaplan. The project, set up at Warner Bros TV, is based on Wines’ comedy short Upstairs (video below), which has amassed more than 2 million views online. Referred casually as New Guy, the project is described as a male New Girl and centers on a tragically average guy, living with his trust-fund roommate, across the hall from their beautiful neighbor. Keeping the tone of the short, in which a couple on a first date get very pragmatical yet brutally honest about the course of their relationship, the show will feature the set of friends taking on the brutality of daily life in New York.
EXCLUSIVE: Strange Calls, a half-hour comedy from writer Donick Cary (New Girl), director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) and producer Aaron Kaplan (The Neighbors), has landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment. Based on an Australian series — which coincidentally also airs on ABC (Australia’s ABC2) – Strange Calls centers on good-hearted, bumbling Boston cop Toby Banks, who is exiled to night duty on Nantucket island, where strange, unexplainable occurrences become the norm nine months out of the year. Working out of a creaky lighthouse on the outskirts of town, he is teamed with Gregor, the eccentric lighthouse keeper and local paranormal authority. The two make an unlikely crimefighting duo dealing with the “strange calls” that come into the station at night. Nantucketer Cary is writing the adaptation and will executive produce with Fleischer; Kapital Entertainment’s Kaplan; as well as Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield, executive producers of the original series, which is produced by their company Hoodlum. 20th Century Fox TV, where Fleischer is under an overall deal, is producing. Fleischer is repped by UTA and Sloane Offer.
EXCLUSIVE: As she is wrapping her starring turn on ABC’s Private Practice, Kate Walsh is embarking on a producing career with a comedy project written by Retired At 35 creator Chris Case, which just sold to NBC. The untitled multi-camera half-hour, from 20th Century Fox TV, is loosely based on the personal experience of Walsh and Case, who are a couple. It centers on a recently divorced father of two pre-teen boys that quickly falls in love with a freewheeling woman cop who has little experience with children, while dealing with his ex-wife, who is now living with his best friend. Walsh and Case will executive produce with Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment.
This past summer, Walsh announced that she would be leaving Private Practice after 13 episodes of the current sixth season. Walsh, repped by CAA and Evolution, has played the character of Addison Montgomery for 7 years, starting on Grey’s Anatomy before she got her own spinoff Private Practice. She is currently seen in breakout indie Perks Of Being A Wallflower and has a cameo in the upcoming Scary Movie 5.
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has put in development a drama series project based on the novel The Madonnas Of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse. The project, to be written by award-winning playwright Julia Cho, takes a look at the lives of a community in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Los Angeles. It explores the relationships -– romantic, professional, familial –- of the Latinos that have built the community over the years, and the hipsters who’re making their way in now, examining the complicated dynamic between the two as they struggle to build new lives for themselves in pursuit of the American dream. Kapital Entertainment’s Aaron Kaplan and British writer Kelly Marcel are executive producing, reuniting after their first collaboration on Terra Nova, which the two executive produced. Terra Nova originated with a 15-page treatment by Marcel, which Kaplan brought to the U.S. For Cho, who will serve as co-executive producer, this marks a return to HBO, where she worked on Big Love. Her TV credits also include a stint on Fringe. She is with WME, Skyhorse is with Jody Hotchkiss.
At HBO, The Madonnas of Echo Park joins another Kapital-produced project, comedy pilot Viagra Diaries, created by Sex And The City’s Darren Star and to be directed by Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig. Additionally, Kaplan has several other cable projects in development.
If the broadcast development season were a reality competition show, we would now be in the final round where some 85 pilots are battling for spots on next season’s schedule. And while the winners won’t be known until the upfronts in May, here are the overachievers in the pilot stage of the competition.
Greg Berlanti — he killed it in his first development season at his new (old) studio home, Warner Bros. Television. Berlanti and his company Berlanti Prods. sold five projects to the broadcast networks. Four of them netted pilot orders: Guilty at Fox written by Marc Guggenheim, an Nicholas Wootton-written drama at CBS, Arrow at the CW, penned by Berlanti, Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, and a comedy at CBS written by Berlanti and Greg Malins. And if that’s not enough, while working on his broadcast development Berlanti found time to write a cable spec, Political Animals, which just received a six-episode straight-to-series order by USA Network and is now casting alongside Berlanti’s broadcast pilots.
Aaron Kaplan — the one-man selling machine. Since founding his company, Kapital Entertainment, two-and-a-half years ago with his own money, the former WMA agent has landed 12 pilot orders while operating independently without the backing of a studio. Four of them came from the broadcast networks this season, all comedies: The Manzanies and the untitled Dan Fogelman project at ABC and Daddy’s Girls and Isabel at NBC. (Technically, there are 5 Aaron Kaplan broadcast pilots this season. The lit manager by the same name is executive producing the Adam Sztykiel ABC comedy pilot, and the matching names have created a lot of confusion and wrongly addressed emails.) Like Berlanti, Kaplan is casting a cable project along with his 4 broadcast pilots, Darren Star’s HBO comedy pilot Viagra Diaries starring Goldie Hawn. He also has several other projects in pilot contention, two upcoming series: ABC’s GCB and MTV’s The Inbetweeners, and a third one awaiting word on Season 2, Fox’s Terra Nova.
Mark Gordon, Marty Adelstein & Shawn Levy and Jamie Tarses. The Mark Gordon Co., Adelstein & Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. and Tarses’ Fanfare landed 3 pilot orders each this broadcast pilot season. The ABC Studios-based Mark Gordon Co., which has 4 series on the air, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Lifetime’s Army Wives, is behind 3 ABC pilots: dramas Americana and the Roland Emmerich project and comedy White Van Man. Additionally, the company has a cable pilot casting, the Showtime drama Roy Donovan starring Liev Schreiber. In its second year, 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, whose first development season produced ABC’s solid freshman Last Man Standing, is fielding the untitled Karyn Usher drama pilot at Fox and comedies Little Brother at Fox and the Mandy Moore project at ABC. Sony TV-based Fanfare, which has 3 series on the air, ABC’s Happy Endings, TNT’s Franklin & Bash and TBS’ upcoming Men At Work, is shepherding CBS’ Baby Big Shot, NBC’s Hilary Winston and Fox’s cast-contingent Must Hire. Additionally, 3 Arts’ Howard Klein is an executive producer on 3 pilots, Greg Daniels’ Friday Night Dinner at NBC, Mindy Kaling’s Fox comedy and Melissa Rosenberg’s ABC drama Penoza.