EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment and Ben Silverman’s Electus have teamed with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand for Speak American, a half-hour comedy that has been sold to Fox. Universal Cable Prods, where Lenchewski is under an overall deal, is producing. Written by Brand (IFC’s Bollywood Hero), Speak American centers on America Aviles, a young accent-reduction teacher of Latin descent who hires a stranger with unconventional methods to teach her class. Brand and Lenchewski originally developed Speak American at USA with the lead of European heritage. The two then changed direction and approached Silverman and Modern Family star Vergara, who have extensive experience in Latino-themed projects. Silverman executive produced ABC’s Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, and he and Vergara executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women, based on an Argentine series. They also have partnered on their premium YouTube channel, NuevOn along with an Electus/LatinWE partnership to bring programming formats to the U.S. READ MORE »
ABC has greenlighted Bet On Your Baby, an eight-episode primetime game show series to premiere in April. Hosted by Melissa Peterman, co-star of the ABC Family comedy Baby Daddy, Bet On Your Baby is produced by Ben Silverman‘s Electus and 5×5 Media, who together co-produce NBC’s Fashion Star and TBS’ King Of The Nerds. The series was inspired by the huge popularity of baby videos online. Each hourlong episode will feature five families with toddlers between the ages of 2 and 3 1/2. While their parents and other relatives compete in the game show, the kids, oblivious to the game, will play and complete simple tasks at a giant playground, with the adults trying to predict the outcome. The individual rounds determine which parent/relative in each of the five families know their child best. At the end of the show, the five families return to play the college round for the chance to win $50,000 towards a college education for their child. “The concept of the show just appealed to me on many levels because as a mom I liked the fact that the kids are having fun and being themselves, it’s the parents playing the game,” Peterman said.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
The nerds inherited the stage at TCA in Pasadena this morning, led by a self-professed nerd named Ben Silverman, as Turner — undaunted by recent failures in the reality space as Wedding Day and The Great Escape — introduced a quartet of new unscripted projects to the gathered critics. The first of them to premiere (on January 17) is TBS‘ King Of The Nerds, featuring hosts/exec producers Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong of Revenge Of The Nerds fame and Silverman also exec producing. The show features 11 competitors going head-to-head (literally) in activities that span the “full nerd spectrum” while living together in “Nerdvana.” With a straight face, Silverman admitted, “We debated nerds and geeks (with great gusto) because geeks identify differently. We didn’t want to alienate geeks by calling them nerds, and vice-versa. It was all about how to do things in a different way…We’ve seen more and more people stand up and say, ‘Hey I’m smart and I don’t need to hide it’.” The point of King Of The Nerds, Armstrong added, isn’t to put down or make fun of nerds but to “celebrate nerd culture…We got 11 amazing nerds on this show”.
Writer Nina Colman (Dr. Dolittle 3) has set up three projects at three different networks. She has teamed with producers Ben Silverman of Electus and Teri Weinberg of Yellow Brick Road for a comedy at NBC and a drama at Lifetime. The projects reunite Silverman and Weinberg, who worked together at Reveille and NBC.
Tentatively titled WTF, the NBC project, from Universal TV, is a dark comedy about four friends whose bad luck suddenly turns into a golden opportunity. The Lifetime drama Flesh And Blood is set in New York and centers on a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who infiltrates a very powerful New York family. Silverman and Weinberg executive produce both projects alongside Colman.
EXCLUSIVE: TV Land has given cast-contingent orders to two new comedy pilots, the single-camera I’m Not Dead Yet from Ben Silverman’s Electus and the multi-camera Brothers-In-Law, executive produced by Scott Stuber. I’m Not Dead, based on the DBS-produced Israeli format Zanzuri, marks TV Land’s first single-camera pilot. Written by Jon Sherman (Frasier), it is about a man who finds out that he has a rare heart condition that could cause him to die at any moment and decides to finally start speaking his mind and live life to the fullest. Silverman is executive producing, with Electus’ Jimmy Fox co-executive producing.
Written and executive produced by comedy veterans Bill Martin and Mike Schiff (3rd Rock From The Sun), who will serve as showrunners, Brothers-In-Law revolves around the family dynamic between a husband and the eccentric fiancé of his wife’s twin sister, who have nothing in common but the sisters constantly force them to bond. Stuber is executive producing, with his development executive Quan Phung producing. “With these pilot orders, TV Land continues down a path to build its own library of original sitcoms that will be paired up with some of the best sitcoms ever made,” said TV Land president Larry W. Jones. “This year, we are expanding beyond the multi-camera format — which has been so successful for us — to include one single-camera project.”
In a competitive situation, ABC is finalizing a deal to buy two projects from Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman: one with DreamWorks TV, Red Band Society, and one with Ben Silverman’s Electus, The Avalon. Both are based on international formats and neither is cookie-cutter, traditional broadcast fare. Red Band Society, which Kauffman will write and showrun, is based on the Spanish format Polseres Vermelles and revolves around young hospital patients. The Avalon, which Kauffman will write with Jessica Queller (Gossip Girl), is based on the Pan Asian format The Kitchen Musical and is a musical drama set at a restaurant. Both shows have been laid off at ABC Studios. I hear that ABC made a substantial, seven-figure commitment to Kauffman, which makes a pilot order likely. This marks Kauffman’s first year developing without Warner Bros TV, where she was based for nearly 20 years. She opted not to renew her deal there and take the indie route so she can partner with different companies on different projects and explore both broadcast and cable development.
EXCLUSIVE: Viacom’s Logo network is set to unveil a development slate the includes four new projects designed to continue expanding the channel’s appeal. The projects range from scripted to reality competition shows and include a docu-series starring comedian Lisa Lampanelli that is produced by Chelsea Handler’s Borderline Amazing production company. The four titles: