NBC has picked up 12-episode series single-camera comedy Working The Engels, starring SCTV alumna Andrea Martin. NBC will co-produce the series with Core Media/Noreen Halpern’s Halfire-CORE Entertainment, which has a 3-for-1 drama series deal at NBC, and Canada’s Shaw Media. American networks have teamed with Canadian broadcasters on comedy projects before — most recently last season when ABC partnered with Shaw to co-produce a half-hour by Bob Martin — but this is the first time such a collaboration has gone to series. Working The Engles, created and written by Katie Ford and Jane Ford, centers on a family who must band together to keep their heads above water when their father and breadwinner passes away, leaving them a mountain of debt. The Engels must all go to work running Dad’s storefront law firm, with one minor problem — daughter Jenna is the only one who is qualified to practice law. Martin will play Ceil, the overly confident family matriarch. Kacey Rohl (Hannibal), Azura Skye (American Horror Story) and Benjamin Arthur (Less Than Kind) co-star. Katie Ford, Jane Ford, Howard Busgang, Tom Nursall and Halpern serve as executive producers. Halpern also exec produced ABC/Shaw’s Bob Martin project and,, in her former role as head of eOne’s scripted series she worked with Shaw on op drama Rookie Blue, which airs on ABC.
Halfire-Core Entertainment, the joint production and financing venture between TV producer Noreen Halpern‘s Halfire Entertainment and CORE Media Group led by Marc Graboff, has added two to its exec ranks. Stephanie Fontana, niece to Borgias and Oz creator Tom Fontana, will serve as Director of Development and Production based in Halfire-CORE’s LA outpost. The 18-year TV development and production vet’s credits include the CW’s Reaper, ABC’s Desperate Housewives, and HBO’s Oz. Also joining the company is Toronto-based Ben Murray, who will serve as Director of Business Development after runs as director of biz affairs and development at Serendipity Point Films and as a programmer for the Toronto Film Festival.