EXCLUSIVE: In his first foray into animation, director-producer Jake Kasdan has teamed with writer-producer Lew Morton for comedy Wentworth Hall, which has been put in development by Fox. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kasdan is under an overall deal, will produce. Based on an idea by Morton, who will write the script, Wentworth Hall follows a group of misfit college students making plenty of bad decisions while attending a once-prestigious university. Morton and Kasdan executive produce, and Kasdan’s producing partner Melvin Mar is producing. This marks Morton’s return to animation. The former Futurama writer-producer, repped by CAA, most recently co-created and executive the CBS comedy Rob. Wentworth Hall reunites Kasdan and Morton; they previously worked together on Fox series Undeclared and the movie Walk Hard. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Playwright-screenwriter Kate Robin (HBO’s Six Feet Under) and director-producer Jake Kasdan have reunited for a family soap, which has landed at ABC with a script commitment plus significant penalty. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kasdan has an overall deal, is producing. The untitled drama explores what happens when a successful NYC woman suddenly disappears. The lives of her husband, daughter, siblings and parents are turned upside down as they struggle to find out what happened to her while trying to survive the investigation and media circus that considers them as potential suspects, uncovering their darkest secrets.
After a three-way bidding war, single-camera comedy pitch On The Verge of Greatness has landed at CBS with a significant penalty. The twentysomething ensemble comedy, from 3 Arts and 20th Century Fox TV, will be written/executive produced by …
How often does a TCA panel on a TV show includes a question to the star: “When did you first know that you were adorable?” That happened today during the session for Fox’s new comedy New Girl starring Zooey Deschanel as a dorky girl moving in with three guys. The indie darling was, well, adorable, in her responses, including blushing in dismissing the adorable label. “I don’t think I’ve ever read a role as good for myself,” she said of her part on the show. The producers talked about the casting change, with Lamorne Morris replacing co-star Damon Wayans Jr, who had to pull out after the pilot due to his commitment to ABC’s Happy Endings. Instead of making this a straight recasting, the producers decided to keep the pilot as is with Wayans Jr as one of Jess’ roommates and then have his character move out and introduce Morris in Episode 2 as a new roommate. “We were really happy with the pilot, the chemistry was where we wanted it,” executive producer Brett Baer said. “So we wanted to bring in a new character that would really bring a new energy to the show.” Added Jake Kasdan, director of the pilot and executive producer of the series, “We thought the overall dynamic was very rich and were looking to preserve that but tailoring to a different actor.”
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is expanding its relationship with The Voice star Adam Levine to the scripted side. After a bidding, NBC has nabbed a single-camera comedy project, with the Maroon 5 frontman executive producing and Jake Kasdan attached to executive produce and direct. The ensemble comedy set at a karaoke bar, which has received a script commitment plus penalty, is being produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment. I hear at least three networks wanted the project, which is said to organically blend comedy with a musical element, but NBC was very aggressive, largely because of the involvement of its reality star Levine. This marks the first major NBC buy from 20th TV since the studio’s former EVP Jennifer Salke was named NBC entertainment president earlier this month.
EXCLUSIVE: Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who wrote the upcoming Justin Timberlake-Cameron Diaz feature comedy Bad Teacher, are returning to television with a rich two-year overall deal at ABC Studios. Additionally, the duo is reuniting with Bad Teacher director Jake Kasdan and studio Sony for a new feature comedy they will be writing and Kasdan directing. Details on the plot are being kept under wraps, but it is a romantic comedy.
In a new business reality dominated by “showveralls,” overall deals tied to services on a show, Stupnitsky and Eisenberg’s pact with ABC Studios is a rare pure development deal, paying the duo seven figures a year to exclusively generate new projects through their company Quantity Entertainment. I hear there was interest in them from several studios, with Stupnitsky and Eisenberg opting to go to ABC Studios because of a series idea they have that they feel would fit ABC. Before segueing to features full-time last year, Stupnitsky and Eisenberg spent five seasons on NBC’s The Office, rising to co-executive producers, writing 18 episodes and directing two. (One of their episodes earned the duo a writing Emmy nom in 2008.) While on the show, Stupnitsky and Eisenberg wrote three features: the Jack Black-Michael Cera comedy Year One, Bad Teacher and the long-gestating Ivan Reitman-directed Ghostbusters 3, which hinges on Bill Murray committing to return.
EXCLUSIVE: Hope Davis is set to star opposite Tea Leoni in HBO’s half-hour comedy pilot Spring/Fall. Jake Kasdan has come on board to direct the project, which is set in New York City against the backdrop of the fashion world and centers on the dysfunctional partnership between Margo (Leoni) and Eden (Davis), two women with different approaches to career, family and friendship. Margo is a successful designer and a happily married mother of 5-year-old twins working for famous fashion designer Victor Cross. When he commits suicide, Margo takes over his line and quickly realizes she’s in over her head, so she reaches out to her estranged former best friend and collaborator Eden, a onetime famous fashion designer herself, and convinces her to come work for her.
Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for Bad Teacher, the comedy that stars Cameron Diaz, Justin Timberlake and Jason Segel. The Jake Kasdan-directed comedy opens June 24.http://flash.sonypictures.com/video/movies/badteacher/bt_trailer_800x448.mp4
Sony has now slated the Cameron Diaz-starrer for June 17, 2011. It was originally scheduled for April. Justin Timberlake, John Michael Higgins and Jason Segel also star in the film, about a foul-mouthed and irreverent middle school instructor. Jake Kasdan directs.