Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Family Album is no longer in contention for midseason. Considered one of the hotter pilots at the network this past season, the half-hour, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Shawn Levy, didn’t get a series order but, along with another comedy pilot, Little In Common, was put in redevelopment for midseason consideration. The network ordered a pilot reshoot, which later morphed into filming a whole new episode/pilot. The project’s original premise was to to have each season take place during a family vacation and the pilot reflected that. I hear that Fox ultimately found that premise too narrow and asked the creators to turn Family Album into a more traditional family show, with every episode focused on a different incident in the family’s daily life, including one chronicling their vacation. The studio, 20th TV, which co-produces Family Album with 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods., extended the options on stars Mike O’Malley and Rachel Harris and standout supporting player Rob Huebel at the end of June, while Port, Wiseman and fellow executive producers Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements focused on reworking the show. But after a lot of back-and-forth with the network, I hear the producers and the studio felt that by transforming Family Album into a family show the concept no longer felt as unique and specific as they wanted it to be. Said a person close to the network, “We loved the auspices but ultimately could …
Midseason Status Report: ‘Breaking In’ Stays Alive With Cast Options Pickup, ‘Common’ & ‘Album’ Keep Some Actors,’Smothered’ Dead
June 30 marked the deadline for TV studios to pick up the options on the casts of broadcast pilots and series whose fate was still in limbo. Good news for fans of Fox’s midseason comedy Breaking In: The options on the series’ actors have been picked up until Nov. 15. And, in a rare move, I hear the network, Fox, has pitched in, splitting the cost of the option extension with producing studio Sony Pictures TV. Fox’s decision to cancel the Christian Slater-starring comedy after a brief midseason run was one of the biggest surprises this past upfront season.
Among the pilots left in contention for midseason, Fox’s comedies Little In Common and Family Album remain in the running for Fox’s two-hour, four-show midseason Tuesday comedy block. But both projects will undergo some tweaking as reflected in their producing studios’ decision to pick up only parts of their casts.
‘Family Album’ Creators Joe Port And Joe Wiseman Ink Overall Deal With 20th TV, Join ‘New Girl’; ‘Album’ To Film Second Episode
Comedy writer-producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, creators of the 20th Century Fox TV-produced comedy pilot Family Album, have signed a two-year overall deal with the studio. Under the pact, the two will join New Girl, 20th TV’s hot new comedy series for Fox, as co-executive producers. Additionally, their pilot Family Album is in strong contention at Fox for midseason. Along with another half-hour pilot, Little In Common, Family Album is vying for a spot on the network’s four-show comedy block in March. To further boost the project’s chances, 20th TV has agreed to produce a second episode, which Port and Wiseman are currently working on. Family Album, which 20th TV co-produces with Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods., stemmed from a blind script deal the studio signed with Port and Wiseman last year. “Having dated for a while, we all collectively wanted to take this relationship to the next level,” 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said. “They have the inspiration to create their owns show and also have the right demeanor to be able to fit into a show and support other creators when they don’t have anything going on.”
Fox will experiment with a night of all live-action half-hour comedies in midseason. During Fox’s conference call this morning, entertainment president Kevin Reilly said the network plans to launch the four-show comedy block on Tuesdays in March, when the current block’s 8 PM anchor Glee goes on hiatus before returning in mid-April. “This is a protected trial as we have Glee coming back right after,” Reilly said. There are five contenders for the four slots: the three half-hour live-action comedies already on the fall schedule – Raising Hope, New Girl, and I Hate My Teenage Daughter — as well as pilots Family Album and Little In Common, which remain under consideration for midseason. Reilly praised both pilots, which he said may undergo “a piece of recasting and probably reshooting” before the network makes a pickup. “Both could make the cut,” Reilly said.
WHO IS STILL ALIVE? ‘Exit Strategy’ Taps Ken Olin As Co-Showrunner; ‘Family Album’ Eyes Midseason Order & More
Between the VIP section of newly picked up series and the pilot of rejected pilots is the no man’s land of pilots that are neither dead nor picked up yet. Here is a rundown on what is still alive and which dead pilots are looking for life elsewhere:
EXIT STRATEGY: Fox passing on the Ethan Hawke-starring action drama pilot was one of the biggest surprises on Tuesday when Fox made its series pickups. But the project, from 20th TV and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products, is very much alive at the network for a possible midseason order. Veteran director-producer Ken Olin has come on board to help with the retooling of the project. He worked with Orci and Kurtzman on Alias where he also met K/O president Heather Kadin, then an ABC exec. Olin is expected to serve as co-showrunner if Exit Strategy is picked up to series. The pilot has been praised for the look established by director Antoine Fuqua but I hear that Fox brass felt the action needed to be infused with more character. Olin is already pitching ideas to do that, working alongside creator David Guggenheim who comes from the feature world and has no TV experience. Besides Hawke, a rare bona fide movie star to agree to do a broadcast series, Exit Strategy has something else going for it – the huge popularity surrounding Seal Team Six, the elite group that killed Osama …
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. …
Megan Dodds has landed the female lead opposite Ethan Hawke in Fox’s drama pilot Exit Strategy, a high-octane procedural about a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA led by Eric Shaw (Hawke) who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Dodds will play Dr. Hannah Burke, the medic on the team who has a genius-level IQ, trusts no one and appears to have a romantic connection with Shaw. Antoine Fuqua is directing the pilot for 20th TV and Kurtzman/Orci. Exit Strategy brings Dodds, repped by ICM and U.K.’s Independent Talent, back to Fox and 20th TV. Two years ago, she had a talent deal with the network and studio, which led to her casting in the pilot Courtroom K.
Michael Mosley has boarded ABC’s drama pilot Pan Am, a sexy soap set against the Jet-Age about pilots and flight attendants working at the iconic Pan Am airline in the 1960s. The Scrubs alum repped by Gersh and Smith Talent Group, will play a co-pilot, a waggish jokester with a buzz cut and an infectious smile.
Orlando Jones has closed his deal to join ABC’s drama pilot Identity. The project, from ABC Studios and Eagle Eye scribe John Glenn, is …
Mike O’Malley, who is recurring on Fox/20th TV’s Glee, is adding a potential regular series gig to his plate, also for Fox and 20th TV. O’Malley is set to play the lead in the single-camera comedy pilot Family Album, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Shawn Levy. It centers on Dave (O’Malley), a passionate, overly enthusiastic former jock who, after a breakthrough experience on a family vacation returns home with a renewed conviction to “bond the crap out of his family.”
O’Malley had a choice of a comedy and drama series gig this pilot season with offers for Family Album and NBC’s drama Grimm, ultimately going with the half-hour project. The deal for Family Album calls for O’Malley to continue his recurring role as Kurt’s sensitive single dad Burt Hummel on Glee, which earned him a guest starring Emmy nomination. Additionally, O’Malley, repped by CAA and Principato Young, wrote this past weekend’s episode of the Showtime drama Shameless and the indie feature Certainty, now in post-production. On the big screen, he currently co-stars in Fox Searchlight’s Cedar Rapids.
PILOT CASTINGS: Rob Huebel Gets Fox’s ‘Family Album’ After FX Passes On ‘USS Alabama’, Jamie Bamber To ’17th Precinct’
Rob Huebel has become the first actor cast in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Family Album, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Shawn Levy. Huebel most recently guest starred in the FX sci-fi comedy pilot U.S.S. Alabama. FX just passed on the project co-created and starring Reno 911! masterminds Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon. The high-concept comedy was set a thousand years in the future aboard an United Nations peacekeeping spaceship. Meanwhile, Family Album centers on a headstrong patriarch who, determined to get some quality family time, embarks on a vacation with his extended family. Huebel, repped by CAA and Principato-Young, will play the brother. He co-stars on Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital.
Former Battlestar Galactica star Jamie Bamber will reunite with the sci-fi series’ developer-executive producer Ron Moore, TVLine reports. Brit Bamber has joined the cast of Moore’s NBC pilot 17th Precinct, set in the fictional town of Excelsior where magic and supernatural elements rule over science. Bamber, who most recently starred in Law & Order: UK, will play a homicide detective at the precinct, joining recently cast Stockard Channing.
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 …
The Council of Dads, from Sony Pictures TV and Tolan’s Sony-based Fedora Entertainment, is based on the non-fiction book by Bruce Feiler. It centers on a man who finds out that he’s dying and enlists five men from every corner of his life to assist his wife in raising his two children. In the book, Feiler chronicles his experiences after being diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer in 2008 and, fearing what the absence of a father figure would do to the lives of his young twin daughters, formed a Council of Dads which consisted of six of his closest male friends who agreed to help him raise the girls. While in real life Feiler made full recovery and the plan was never implemented, in Tolan’s version, the dad is expected to die, with the show chronicling how the kids are raised with the help of the Council. Tolan and producing …