EXCLUSIVE: Veteran Gary Cole is set to star in Fox’s comedy pilot Tagged. The hybrid comedy, from Sony TV, Reveille and writers-executive producers David Guarascio and Moses Port, is a workplace ensemble set at the Los Angeles County’s coroner’s office that is loosely based on the life of Shiya Robowsky and centers on respected coroner James Percy (Cole) and his son, Wally, who joins him fresh out of medical school. Cole’s recent series gigs include recurring roles on HBO’s Entourage as a TV lit agent with a lot of baggage and on CBS’ The Good Wife as a right-wing ballistics expert. He is with ICM and manager Barbara Gale.
Indie darling Zoey Deschanel has closed a deal to star in Fox’s untitled single-camera comedy pilot from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Deschanel had been in negotiations for the pilot while also considering a gig on NBC’s The Office, but ultimately went with the pilot, closing her deal last night. The Liz Meriwether project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. It centers on Jessica (Deschanel), an optimistic but unlucky in love elementary school teacher who, after her most recent break-up, moves out of her apartment with her ex and moves in with 3 juvenile guys. The project brings Deschanel under the same roof as her sister, Emily, who stars on the Fox/20th TV series Bones.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has handed a late pilot order to Weekends at Bellevue, a medical drama from former ER writer-producer Lisa Zwerling and BermanBraun. The project, centered on a psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of Bellevue Hospital psychiatric unit, was originally set up at NBC and UMS earlier this season. After the network recently passed on the script, it was taken to Fox. UMS, which produces Fox’s hit drama House, will stay on as the studio. Weekends at Bellevue is based on Dr. Julie Holland’s memoir about her nine-year stint as the weekend physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at the oldest public hospital in the United States whose name has become synonymous with insanity. Zwerling, Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein are executive producing.
Is Fox about to become the network of the Deschanel sisters? Indie movie darling Zooey Deschanel is in negotiations to star in Fox’s untitled single-camera comedy pilot from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Zooey’s sister, Emily, of course stars in the veteran Fox procedural Bones. Both the new pilot and Bones are produced by 20th TV. The Liz Meriwether project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. It centers on Jessica, a role that Deschanel is eying, an optimistic but unlucky in love elementary school teacher who, after her most recent break-up, moves out of her apartment with her ex and moves in with 3 juvenile guys.
This would mark the first regular TV role for (500) Days of Summer star Deschanel, who was recently attached to star in and executive produce an HBO half-hour project based on Pamela Des Barres’ memoir I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, which ultimately didn’t go forward. She previously did an arc on Showtime’s Weeds and guest starred opposite her sister in an episode of Bones. On the film side, Deschanel most recently co-starred in the Sundance entry My Idiot Brother.
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 …
Fox has picked up another single-camera comedy pilot, this one from writer-producer Liz Meriwether, 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. The untitled project, originally titled Chicks and Dicks, is described as a young ensemble comedy about the sexual politics of men and women. Meriwether is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope. This is Chernin Entertainment’s third pilot order this season, following pickups for off-cycle comedy Outnumbered and the recent deal for Tim Kring’s drama spec Touch. All 3 projects are at Fox.
Fox has handed a pilot order to the Ethan Hawke-starring drama Exit Strategy. Antoine Fuqua, who directed Hawke in his Oscar nominated performance in Training Day, is on board to direct the pilot, from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. After months of discussions, Hawke came on board in December to star and produce. He, in turn, invited Fuqua to direct the pilot. In addition to Training Day, Fuqua directed Hawke in Brooklyn’s Finest. Fuqua will also exec produce the pilot.
Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke will play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode will tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy will also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in …
PREVIOUS: Fox has greenlighted one more comedy pilot, with another expected to join it shortly. Both are from Sony TV.
The project that has been officially picked up is Iceland, a singe-camera comedy from writer-executive producer Andy Bobrow about a deceased fiance.
The project whose pickup is still being worked out is Tagged, from writers-executive producers David Guarascio and Moses Port. The hybrid comedy, which Sony TV is co-producing with Reveille, is a workplace ensemble comedy set at the Los Angeles County’s coroner’s office that is loosely based on Shiya Robowsky’s life. Also executive producing the project are Carolyn Bernstein, Howard Owens, Todd Cohen.
Heroes creator Tim Kring is back with his first pilot since the superhero NBC drama, and this time, it is at Fox. Fox has given a pilot order to Touch, another project with supernatural overtones from Kring, which is being produced by 20th TV and studio-based Chernin Entertainment. Touch centers on a father who discovers that his autistic, mute son can actually predict events before they happen. Kring wrote the project on spec, his first pilot script since Heroes. It was developed internally at Chernin Entertainment with the company’s head of TV Katherine Pope who had remained close with Kring after shepherding Heroes while at NBC and UMS. Because of 20th TV relationship with Fox, the spec was taken out to Fox first, and the network quickly gave it a pilot green light. Kring, Peter Chernin and Pope are executive producing Touch, one of two pilots picked up at Fox today. The network also greenlighted Little in Common, a single-camera comedy from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas.
Fox has handed a pilot order to Little in Common, a single-camera comedy from Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas. The project, produced by Warner Bros. TV, is about 3 families united through their kids’ little league sports. This is Fox’s second comedy pilot pickup this season. The network recently ordered a multicamera comedy, Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter, also from WBTV. The pickup marks a return to broadcast TV for Thomas who most recently co-created and executive produced the Starz comedy Party Down. Little in Common is one of two comedy projects Thomas sold to the broadcast networks this development season. It is in second position to Temp, a comedy for NBC, which Thomas co-wrote with fellow Party Down co-creators John Enbom and Dan Etheridge. Both shows are produced by WBTV. Thomas is executive producing Little In Common with frequent collaborators Danielle Stokdyk, Jennifer Gwartz and Etheridge who all worked with him on UPN’s Veronica Mars, ABC’s Cupid and Starz’s Party Down.
At Fox’s TCA session yesterday, entertainment president Kevin Reilly noted that the network is not giving up on multicamera comedy, and its first comedy pilot order this season will go to a traditional sitcom. That is now a reality – Fox has just closed a deal to greenlight I Hate My Teenage Daughter, from Warner Bros. TV and writers/executive producers Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer. It centers on two women who now have daughters just like the girls who picked on them in high school. Veteran sitcom helmer Andy Ackerman is attached to direct. On the drama side, Fox has already ordered two pilots, Locke & Key and Alcatraz.
EXCLUSIVE: Her song In the Deep from the movie Crash earned her an Oscar nomination. Now songwriter-actress Bird York is writing In Deep, a drama pilot script for Fox. The project, which York is executive producing with Gary Randall, is described as a Sopranos meets Desperate Housewives. It centers around a female undercover FBI agent infiltrating the Chicago Mob with the help of the made men’s women. 20th Century Fox TV is producing the untitled drama, which has received a script commitment. York, a recent alumna of the WGA Showrunners program, is repped by Gersh and Code Entertainment.
EXCLUSIVE: Miranda Otto is set to headline Fox’s drama pilot Locke & Key, from producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Based on Joe Hill’s comic, Locke & Key tells the story of Nina Locke (Otto) and her three children, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, who survive an unspeakable horror and attempt to rebuild their lives at Keyhouse, their family home in Lovecraft, Massachusetts. It is a mysterious New England mansion, with fantastic and transformative keys hidden inside its walls that are also being sought by a hate-filled and relentless creature with ties to the Locke family’s past who will stop at nothing to accomplish his sinister goals. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman wrote the pilot, with Mark Romanek in negotiations to direct. 20th Century Fox TV, Kurtzman and Orci’s K.O. Paper Products and DreamWorks TV are producing. Otto, repped by Gersh and Management 360, had been heavily pursued to do pilots and fielded several offers, including one for the TNT drama pilot Perception, before opting to do Locke & Key. Her credits include War of Worlds, the Lord of the Rings sequels and the ABC dramedy Cashmere Mafia.
EXCLUSIVE: Ugly Betty alumna Ana Ortiz is set as the female lead of Fox’s off-cycle comedy pilot Outnumbered, which is being directed by Larry Charles. Inspired by the BBC sitcom, Outnumbered revolves around one set of parents who are often overwhelmed by their three children. Ortiz will play the mom, Sue Tulley, a frazzled, at-her-wit’s-end, working mother of three, a multi-tasker by necessity and somewhat of a hot-head. The project is being produced by 20th TV, Chernin Entertainment and Hat Trick Prods, the British company behind the original series. Like fellow Ugly Betty co-star Becki Newton, Ortiz was tapped for a new project, ABC’s drama pilot True Blue, shortly after the network announced the end of Betty‘s four-year run. She has been in demand ever since, with several projects in development for next fall trying to attach her as a star. Ortiz is with Gersh, manager Geordie Frey and attorney Brad Small.
Locke & Key already had a series commitment attached to it. Now Fox has officially greenlighted a pilot from the Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci-produced project based on the graphic novel, which is eyed for a potential summer run. The Locke & Key adaptation, written by Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles creator Josh Friedman, is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products and DreamWorks TV where the project originated on the feature side. Based on Joe Hill’s comic published by IDW Publishing, Locke & Key tells the story of Nina Locke and her three children
EXCLUSIVE: Yet more proof that family comedy, especially one with a male point of view, is the hottest half-hour genre this buying season: shortly after CBS shelled out a put pilot commitment to a suburban dad comedy from writer Peter Knight and Happy Madison, a family comedy from writers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and 20th Century Fox TV landed at Fox.
After a bidding war, Fox has handed out a put pilot commitment to Connected, a single-camera family comedy from from American Dad! executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and documentary filmmaker R.J. Cutler. Khan will write and executive produce the project, an edgy family comedy about two families linked by their teens’ romantic relationship. She will executive produce with Cutler and Mosaic’s Ann Blanchard. Connected is produced by 20th Century Fox TV where Khan is under an overall deal.
Khan, who has been on Dad! since the beginning, has both live-action and animation background. She got her start in kids animated series at Walt Disney TV Animation after graduating from USC’s film school. She worked her way into primetime with gigs on such series as Fox’s Malcolm in the Middle, WB’s What I Like About You and NBC’s Good Morning, Miami. This represents Cutler’s first major foray into scripted TV. In February, the documentarian and reality producer inked a first-look deal with 20th TV’s corporate sibling Fox TV Studios with a focus on scripted development.
It’s been a quick greenlight for Alcatraz, the JJ Abrams-produced drama, which landed at Fox with a pilot commitment a week ago. I hear the project, described as “a show about mysteries, secrets and the most infamous prison of all time: Alcatraz,” has been picked up to pilot by the network with a production order. Elizabeth Sarnoff penned the final script, while Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt wroteearlier versions. All 3 are credited as writers on the pilot. Sarnoff will serve as showrunner and will executive produce with Abrams and Bryan Burk. Lilien and Wynbrandt will co-executive produce. Abrams’ Bad Robot Prods is producing with Warner Bros TV. This will be the second off-cycle pilot order for Fox, which also recently greenlighted the comedy pilot Outnumbered.