EXCLUSIVE: Murphy Brown creator Diane English has joined NBC’s comedy project starring pint-sized Ellen standouts Sophia Grace and Rosie and produced by Ellen DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production and Warner Bros. TV, which actively pursued English. With her on board, the project, originally bought by NBC with a script commitment, has been given a pilot production commitment. There is no firm concept yet for the multi-camera comedy, though Sophia Grace, 10, and her cousin Rosie, 7, are expected to play some versions of themselves. English is executive producing through Bend in the Road Prods. alongside AVGP’s DeGeneres and Jeff Kleeman. This would mark ICM Partners-repped English’s first series since the end of Murphy Brown which earned her two best series Emmys and a writing one for the hit comedy’s pilot. British girls Sophia Grace and Rosie have been a major ratings draw on Ellen where they are frequent guests. Their music performances have garnered tens millions of views online, with the youngsters appealing to a very wide audience. In addition to the TV project, AVGP also is producing a direct to video feature starring Sophia Grace and Rosie, which starts production this month.
Diane English Tapped To Write NBC’s Sophia Grace & Rosie Comedy, Which Has Received Pilot Production Commitment
ABC has closed a deal for a comedy project from Murphy Brown creator Diane English starring Jim Belushi. The project, titled You Won’t Even Know I’m Here, has received a put pilot commitment from the network. ABC Studios and studio-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners are producing. The multi-camera comedy, written by English, stars Belushi as a co-dependent father whose relationship with his teenage daughter is turned upside down when they are put together in a unique situation. English and Belushi are executive producing with Brillstein Entertainment. The project drew multiple studio bids when it hit the market last month, ultimately landing at ABC Studios/Brillstein, the companies that also produced Belushi’s long-running ABC sitcom According to Jim. ABC, which has new comedy Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen launching next week, continues to load up on comedy projects fronted by veteran comedy stars this development season. The network last week gave a put pilot commitment to Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire, and also has a pilot starring Kristie Alley in the hopper.
EXCLUSIVE: After taking a stab at light drama with CBS’ The Defenders, former According to Jim star Jim Belushi is returning to comedy with a new half-hour project from Murphy Brown creator Diane English. The pairing of Belushi and English, who will co-write the story together, sparked bidding among studios before ultimately landing at ABC Studios, which also produced According to Jim. The deals are still being finalized, but ABC Studios is expected to re-team with According to Jim co-producer Brillstein Entertainment Partners on the show, about a single father with a teen offspring. Belushi’s and English’s companies will also produce, with the two executive produing alongside Brillstein Entertainment. With ABC Studios as the studio, it is considered likely that the comedy will end up at ABC, the network where According to Jim ran for eight seasons, but that is not a given as the project is expected to be taken out to other networks. Belushi is the latest sitcom star to be eying a return to primetime. Tim Allen is headlining a new series for ABC this fall, Kirstie Alley is set to star in an ABC comedy pilot, and Roseanne Barr is developing a new starring vehicle for herself at 20th Century Fox TV. Belushi and English are with ICM.
UPDATE: The WGA continues to line up its award recipients. On Monday, the guild said that Amarcord screenwriter Tonino Guerra would receive the Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, an international honor. The 90-year-old writer won’t be attending the event, held February 5 at the Renaissance Hollywood. Last week, the WGA announced it would be honoring Diane English and Steve Zaillian. Releases below:
Los Angeles — Iconic Italian screenwriter Tonino Guerra has been named the recipient of the Writers Guild of America, West’s 2011 Jean Renoir Award for Screenwriting Achievement, given to an international writer who has advanced the literature of motion pictures and made outstanding contributions to the profession of screenwriter. Along with other Guild honorees, Guerra will be feted at the 2011 Writers Guild Awards West Coast ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2011, in Hollywood.
In creative collaboration with some of the most prominent directors in world cinema, including Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrey Tarkovsky, Francesco Rosi, and Theodoros Angelopoulos, prolific screenwriter, author, poet, and artist Guerra has penned over 100 screenplays during a career spanning six decades.
“Tonino Guerra is by any standard one of the great writers of our times. His medium is the screenplay. He has written or co-written more than a hundred films, among them L’avventura, La notte, L’eclisse, Red Desert, Blow-Up, and Zabriskie Point for Antonioni; Amarcord for Fellini; Nostalghia for Tarkovsky; Landscapes in the Mist for Angelopoulos; and Exquisite Corpses for Rosi. Guerra’s work is the brave and moral thread that runs through the fabric of modernist cinema. He is a breathtaking poet, a generous collaborator, and is possessed of the largest heart. We are fortunate to have him among us and thrilled to honor his astonishing – and astonishingly influential – body of work,” said WGAW Board of Directors member Howard A. Rodman.