Saturday Night Live co-star Abby Elliott is heading to primetime. I’ve learned that Elliott is poised to play the lead in Dana Fox’s Fox pilot Ben Fox Is My Manny. (That’s a lot of Fox-es in one sentence.) The single-camera comedy centers on an uptight single mother (Elliott) whose aimless brother moves in to help raise her daughter (Maggie Jones). The new gig won’t interfere with Elliott’s duties on SNL this season — I hear that she will film the pilot during the late-night show’s spring hiatus. If Ben Fox goes to series, Elliott will stay with it, leaving SNL. If not, she is expected to continue on the NBC late-night sketch comedy series, which she joined in 2008 as a featured player. This marks Elliott’s first major TV gig outside of SNL, where she is probably best known for her memorable impersonations including Angelina Jolie, Anna Faris, Rachel Maddow, Khloe Kardashian, Zooey Deschanel and Brittany Murphy. Elliott is the latest SNL star to migrate to primetime. She follows in the footsteps of her father, Chris Elliott, who parlayed a stint on SNL into a solid primetime sitcom career. (Abby’s grandfather, comedian Bob Elliott, also hosted SNL back in the day.) On the big screen, CAA-repped Elliott was recently seen in No Strings Attached.
Female comedy writers’ momentum continued today with Fox’s pilot order to Ben Fox Is My Manny, a single-camera comedy from feature writer Dana Fox (Couples Retreat, What Happens in Vegas). The project, produced by Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV, centers on a single mom whose aimless brother moves in to help her raise her baby. Like the title suggests, the male lead is an exaggerated version of Fox’s real-life brother, whose name is indeed Ben Fox. (And Fox also happens to be the name of the network buying the show.) The comedy was originally set up at Fox in October with a script commitment plus significant penalty. This is the first of a slew of pilots Fox is expected to pick up this week. It joins the network’s off-cycle comedy pilot My Little Brother starring T.J. Miller. Female comedy writers are enjoying a complete dominance this fall, with five of the six new half-hour shows given back-nine orders created or co-created by women, including Fox’s New Girl, created by Liz Meriwether and also produced by 20th TV and Chernin. In fact, both of Fox’s freshman comedy series this season were created by female writers, New Girl and I Hate My Teenage Daughter (Sherry Bilsing and Ellen Kreamer).
Fox has bought Ben Fox is My Manny, a single-camera comedy project from feature writer Dana Fox (Couples Retreat, What Happens in Vegas). The project, produced by Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV, has received a script commitment with significant penalty attached. It centers on a single mom whose aimless brother moves in to help her raise her baby. Like the title suggests, the male lead is an exaggerated version of Fox’s real-life brother, whose name is Ben Fox. Dana Fox, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, is writing the script and executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.