EXCLUSIVE: This week, Jack Giarraputo has been telling associates at studios like Sony and Paramount that he will retire after he finishes producing the Warner Bros comedy Blended, and after that the Chris Columbus-directed Pixels for Sony. The 46-year old Giarraputo has been Adam Sandler‘s partner in Happy Madison since the company’s inception in 1995. So why would a young guy step out of a dream job at a company that continues to thrive, and which just saw Grown Ups 2 turn in a $113 million foreign gross to become the biggest offshore result for a Happy Madison pic?
Believe it or not, Giarraputo made a life decision that is based on making time for his sons, who at seven and four years old need a father who doesn’t spend all his time away on a movie set or working late developing scripts. And so Giarraputo told Sandler, his best friend since their days as NYU students, that he was going to step out in about about 18 months. Giarraputo will retire from movie producing. He will take on other ventures that he can do while making his family the main priority. That includes becoming a director at Jiaflix, a startup that will stream movies to China. He will also become involved in pursuits like private equity film funding and investing. But his main job title is going to be: Dad.
This wrestling match between career ambition and family … Read More »
CBS has put in development On The Fence, a half-hour project from Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Happy Madison. Written by Aaron Buchsbaum and Teddy Riley, the comedy explores the shifting dynamic in a group of friends as they navigate their late twenties from different ends of the relationship spectrum. Happy Madison’s Doug Robinson exec produces, with Buchsbaum and Riley as supervising producers. On the feature side, the duo, repped by Paradigm, Mosaic and Jeff Frankel, have El Tigre at Sony with Mosaic producing and are working on an action comedy for Parkes/MacDonald.
At Fox, Sony TV and Happy Madison have single-camera comedy That Family, written/exec produced by Ryan Shiraki (Awkward) and exec produced by Robinson. Loosely based on Shiraki’s real-life upbringing in Hawaii, the project is a working-class family show set in Bakersfield. Shiraki is with APA, Industry Entertainment and Schreck Rose.
EXCLUSIVE: The title of Adam Sandler‘s next film will be Ridiculous 6, and it’s a comedy Western that Paramount Pictures has committed to put into production in April. This is the laffer that Sandler was going to make at Sony before Happy Madison Productions moved it to Paramount. The title is reminiscent of the 1960 United Artists pic The Magnificent Seven that starred Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, the drama about seven gunfighters drafted to protect a Mexican town, so might this be a variation featuring inept gunslingers? The studio would not go beyond confirming the title and the terrain. Read More »
Cee Lo Green a sitcom star? The Voice mentor is expanding his relationship with the network to the scripted side with a comedy project loosely based on his real-life relationship with his ex-wife and children. He also has signed a first-look deal with NBC.
Green is set to star and executive produce the multi-camera comedy, from Sony TV and studio-based Happy Madison. Comedy veteran Ali Leroi, co-creator of Everybody Hates Chris and developer of Are We There Yet?, will write the comedy, starring Green as a version of himself as he tries to balance his career as a top recording artist and his frenetic home life. A deal for the project at NBC is now in final negotiations. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, CBS has nabbed a single-camera comedy written by Tad Quill and starring David Walton. The project, from Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Happy Madison, centers on a bachelor firefighter (Walton) who has to make the ultimate sacrifice of taking care of someone other than himself when a 9-year-old girl enters his life. Quill is executive producing with Happy Maddison’s Doug Robinson, with Walton serving as producer.
The untitled comedy reunites Quill, creator/executive producer of last season’s single-camera midseason NBC comedy Bent, and the series’ male lead David Walton. The duo’s new project was pitched to all four major networks, ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS. All expressed interest, with CBS brass said to have been particularly passionate. Despite the lack of single-camera comedies on CBS’ air, the network’s programming chief Nina Tassler has been vocal about the network’s commitment to the form and, Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Rules Of Engagement‘s strong return last night, the series’ creator Tom Hertz has landed a put pilot commitment from CBS for a new multi-camera comedy. The family show, which had multiple networks bidding, marks a reunion of all auspices behind Rules: Hertz as creator/executive producer, CBS as network and Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Happy Madison as production companies. The untitled comedy is a multi-generational show about family, and how people’s childhoods influence the decisions they make and what they seek as adults. The project stems from a three-year overall deal Hertz signed with Sony TV in June with the goal to focus on development. He continues to run Rules in its current sixth season and is also directing episodes of the show, which has been sold in broadcast syndication for a fall 2012 launch.
Rules, about 2 couples and their single friend played by David Spade, has been an underrated utility player for CBS, bounced around the schedule and often held back as a midseason replacement. After originally scheduled for Saturday nights this season, the veteran comedy was recently given a major time slot upgrade when it was summoned to replace flailing freshman How To Be A Gentleman in the Thursday 8:30 PM berth. In its sixth season premiere last night, Rules (3.6/10, 11.5 million in Live+same day) was up 16% in the demo from last season’s debut in the Monday 8:30 PM … Read More »
NBC has bought two more single-camera comedy projects: Life As I Blow It, from Chelsea Lately and After Lately writer-panelist Sarah Colonna, and Satellites, a workplace comedy from Weeds writer-producer Stephen Falk.
Life As I Blow It is based on Colonna’s upcoming book and follows Colonna and her life in the Midwest surrounded by eccentric friends and family whose opinions and actions know no boundaries. Happy Madison and Sony TV are producing along with Colonna’s management company New Wave Entertainment, Lunch Bag Snail Prods and Universal TV. Colonna will write the script and executive produce with Danielle Sanchez, who will supervise, Doug Robinson, Abbey MacDonald, Michael Pelmont and Brian Volk Weiss. APA-repped Colonna recently performed on the Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Just when we thought the trend of comedies based on blogs and Twitter feeds was cooling off, it’s back! Fox has tapped Ugly Betty creator Silvio Horta to develop a half-hour comedy based on the infamous blog Texts From Last Night. Happy Madison and Sony Pictures TV are producing. Fox has been high on the Web property. The network, Happy Madison and Sony TV first took a stab at developing a comedy based on the Web site two seasons ago with Steve Holland as the writer. Last season, it was redeveloped with different writers, Marc Abrams and Michael Benson. Now a new take will be written by Horta, who had been looking to branch out into half-hour comedies after creating 2 sci-fi dramas, The Chronicle and Jake 2.0 and a dramedy, ABC’s Ugly Betty. The user-generated TFNL blog posts “regrettable,” often embarrassing text messages usually sent late at night by people who are drunk or high. The Web site became an instant hit when it launched in February 2009, and landed a book and TV deal. This marks WME-repped Horta’s second sale under the overall deal with Sony TV he signed in June. The other one, also at Fox, is a Latino family dramedy, which he is writing and executive executive producing with Jennifer Lopez.
Carter Covington, creator/executive producer of ABC Family’s series version of 10 Things I Hate About You, has sold two comedy projects, both with top pods. At ABC, he has Where’s My Wand, from Happy Madison, Sony TV and ABC Studios, and at Fox he has Threepete, from Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s 21 Laps/Adelstein and 20th TV.
The single-camera Where’s My Wand is based on Eric Poole’s comedic memoir of the same name about a boy growing up with his long-suffering father, his older sister, and his cleanliness-obsessed mother. The multi-camera Threepete also is a family comedy. It revolves around a grandfather, father and son who share the name Peter — and little else. WME-repped Covington also worked on ABC Family’s Greek.
EXCLUSIVE: Comedies continue to be white-hot this pitch season. The latest to spark major bidding wars are an 1980s half-hour from Breaking In co-creator Adam F. Goldberg and a mocumentary-style comedy from Alan Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, co-writers of DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind. Both projects hail from Sony TV, which has been very aggressive at the onset of this development season, as well as two of the studio’s highest-profile pods: Happy Madison (the Goldberg project) and Will Gluck’s company (the Schoolcraft/Simons project), which in May signed a two-year development and production deal with Sony for film and TV. Both comedies have received interest from all four major broadcast networks and will likely command series/production commitments. For the Gluck-produced comedy, I hear the field has been narrowed to ABC and NBC, while for the Goldberg project it is still wide open.
The Adam Goldberg project is described as an autobiographical show about growing up in the 1980s with a highly screwed up but loving family. It reunites the auspices of Fox’s cult favorite Breaking In, which also was co-produced by Happy Madison and Sony TV. Film and TV writer Goldberg, who has an overall deal at Sony TV, co-created with Seth Gordon Breaking In, which was canceled in May after a brief midseason run but remains in contention for a midseason berth on the network, something that may help Fox snatch Goldberg’s new project. The Gluck-produced The Yard presents the life lessons of elementary school as seen through the lens of an Office-like documentary. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A month after Rules of Engagement landed a full-season renewal by CBS, bringing its episode count to 96, the veteran comedy series has been sold in broadcast syndication. Sony Pictures Television has cleared Rules in 45% of the country, including the top three markets, in a series of barter deals with station groups. In New York, Rules has been sold to Tribune’s WPIX-TV New York, in Los Angeles to CBS’ KCAL-TV and in Chicago to Weigel’s WCIU-TV. “The show’s compatibility with The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men, combined with its strong, consistent performance on CBS among male viewers, has been a major enticement to local stations,” said SPT’s president of U.S. distribution John Weiser. “It’s a win-win for buyers because the show repeats better than any comedy on television.” SPT is producing Rules with Happy Madison and CBS TV Studios, with Tom Hertz, Doug Robinson and Jack Giarraputo executive producing. Cable syndication for the show is pending.
CBS capped a busy pickup day at the broadcast networks with an order to a multicamera comedy from writer Peter Knight and Happy Madison. The project, produced by Sony Pictures TV and CBS TV Studios, is a workplace ensemble featuring a group of assistants and junior executives as they juggle love, friendship, and the corporate ladder. Knight, who previously created Krod Mandooon and the Flaming Sword of Fire and co-created Big Wolf on Campus, is executive producing with Happy Madison’s Doug Robinson. The ensemble comedy was originally set up at CBS last season. In October, Knight landed another multicamera comedy project, a family sitcom about a suburban dad, at CBS with a put pilot commitment. That project also hailed from Happy Madison and Sony TV.
This marks Sony TV’s third comedy pilot pickup today. Earlier in the day, NBC greenlighted two half-hour pilots from the studio: Peter Tolan’s Brave New World and the Jack Black-produced My Life As an Experiment. They join the Tolan/Sony TV comedy The Council of Dads, which was picked up by Fox yesterday.
EXCLUSIVE: A&E is launching its next pilot season with cast-contingent pilot orders to two hourlong projects, Big Mike and Longmire. Both are male-centered shows in the mold of A&E’s two series on the air, The Glades and the upcoming Breakout Kings. And Big Mike, which hails from Adam Sandler’s comedy-driven Happy Madison and Something About Mary co-writers Ed Decter and John Strauss, appears to share the light tone of The Glades. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Another sign that family comedy is the hottest half-hour genre this season: After a bidding war with ABC, CBS has landed an untitled family sitcom by writer-producer Peter Knight with a big put pilot commitment. The multicamera project, from Sony Pictures TV and studio-based Happy Madison, centers on a suburban dad of a blended family who has strong opinions about the way of doing things.
In light of the success of ABC’s Modern Family, family comedies have been in high demand at the broadcast networks this development season, with the emphasis often on the dad’s point of view. In addition to CBS’ Peter Knight project, Peter Tolan’s The Council of Dads, about a dad dying of cancer who assembles a council of his closest male friends to help raise his daughters, also sparked a bidding war. It went to Fox in the biggest deal for a comedy so far this year, a $1.5 million pilot production commitment. And NBC, which has been focused mostly on workplace and relationship comedies, recently gave a script order to Man of the House, a Mr. Mom role reversal family show from feature writer Adam Sztykiel (Due Date) and ABC Studios. Knight, repped by CAA and Mosaic, previously created Krod Mandooon and the Flaming Sword of Fire and co-created Big Wolf on Campus.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox is eyeing a new light legal drama franchise with Lawyers For Less. The network is developing the project, created by and to star Danny Comden and produced by Sony TV and studio-based Happy Madison. Sony-based Anthony and Joe Russo are on board to direct and produce. The Russos, Emmy winners for directing the Arrested Development pilot, are hot coming off the last development season when both of their pilots, Happy Endings and Running Wilde, got picked up to series. They executive produce 3 series this season, Happy Ending, Running Wilde and Community, whose pilot they also directed.
Lawyers For Less, which Comden will write and executive produce with Josh Pate, is a workplace comedic drama about two best friends – a white-shoe lawyer (Comden) coming back from disbarment for mixing business and pleasure and an enterprising black lawyer who takes him in as partner – who run a small storefront law firm specializing in ambulance chasing and defending the defenseless. ”Their goal is to bring reasonable doubt at a reasonable price while making as much filthy lucre as humanly possible,” Comden said. The project extends Comden’s relationship with Fox. Last year, he landed a script commitment with penalty from the network for single-camera comedy The Intruders, which didn’t go to pilot.