EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of the success last season of their comedy project About A Boy, which went to series at NBC, Jason Katims and his True Jack Prods. are back in half-hour development with another high-profile project at NBC. The network has handed a pilot production commitment to Former Fat Girl, from Universal TV where True Jack is based. Written by J.J. Philbin (New Girl), the single-camera comedy is loosely inspired by 10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl, a nonfiction book by former Biggest Loser contestant Amy Parham, which True Jack optioned earlier this year. It is a comedic “adult coming-of-age” story of a formerly obese thirtysomething woman who has just recently shed the weight and is now experiencing life and relationships from her very unique perspective. Philbin is executive producing with True Jack’s Katims and Michelle Lee.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC has taken in an untitled hourlong comedy from the Parenthood duo of Jason Katims & Sarah Watson. The project, from Universal TV and Katims’ studio-based True Jack Prods, is described as an edgy, twisted romantic comedy set in a Chicago law firm. It is centered on a woman struggling to get ahead at work, while dealing with real-world attitudes towards those who are and are not married. The project, penned by Watson with Katims supervising, was originally developed last season when the pitch was sold to Fox in a competitive situation with three networks — Fox, ABC and NBC — all interested. Fox ultimately went for a masculine pilot slate, veering away from female-driven shows. Meanwhile, ABC expressed interest in the script once it was released, leading to a deal. The project is now being redeveloped to better fit ABC’s sensibility. Watson, Katims and True Jack’s Michelle Lee executive produce.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At this evening’s PaleyFest panel on NBC’s Parenthood, the question on everyone’s mind was whether Parenthood will be around to make audiences bawl for a 5th season? Oddly, this question got punted to 15-year-old Max Burkholder, who gamely tried to answer. “I don’t think there’s any way to know, or anything to officially announce, but I’m definitely crossing my fingers.” According to the moderator, TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, some fingers are crossed already for Monica Potter to win an Emmy nod. Her character fought cancer this season. He offered that Potter portrayed “the C word, but now there’s talk that she might be a contender for the E word.” Pplot twists have included abortion, illness, autism and heartbreak, but an audience member stood up to show her bald head. She thanked the producer and cast for this season’s cancer story: “You brought the cameras into my life,” she said. Tissues had been distributed in advance to the audience because this extended-family drama from executive producer Jason Katims has a penchant for making people cry. (So did his Friday Night Lights.) The large Parenthood panel included Katims and cast members Craig T. Nelson, Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Dax Shepard, Erika Christensen, Monica Potter, Sam Jaeger, Mae Whitman, Jason Ritter, Joy Bryant and young actors Miles Heizer and Burkholder.
EXCLUSIVE: Friday Night Lights and Parenthood developer/executive producer Jason Katims is returning to his comedy roots with About A Boy, a single-camera comedy based on the Nick Hornby book and 2002 movie. NBC has bought the project, from Katims’ True Jack Prods; Universal TV; and Working Title and Tribeca Prods, the companies that produced the Hugh Grant-starring feature. Written and executive produced by Emmy-winner Katims, About A Boy follows the relationship between a bachelor man-child and the young boy who moves in next door with his kooky single mother. Katims’ head of development, Michelle Lee, will serve as producer.
EXCLUSIVE: A character-driven action dramedy from Friday Night Lights and Parenthood developer/executive producer Jason Katims and feature writer Simon Kinberg has landed at Fox with a rich put pilot commitment. Titled Anonymous, the project follows a rebellious, hot-shot wunderkind who is plucked as the CIA’s latest recruit and teamed with a seasoned handler with whom he forms an unlikely father-son relationship. Katims will write and executive produce. Kinberg will executive produce, while Katims’ head of development, Michelle Lee, will serve as producer.
Heading into this season, Katims, an Emmy winner for writing the finale of Friday Night Lights, expressed interest in the CIA arena, which he had never tackled before. He was introduced to Kinberg, who has expertise in the action genre with credits including Sherlock Holmes, X-Men: The Last Stand and the upcoming X-Men: Days Of Future Past as well as two movies about spies: Mr. And Mrs. Smith and This Means War.
A decade after Ally McBeal ended its run, another hourlong comedy about a quirky single female attorney is coming to Fox. In a competitive situation with three networks …
With NBC brass back from NBCUniversal’s weirdly-timed (for NBC) corporate retreat in Florida …
The broadcast networks staged a major comeback on a wild night at the Emmys, which started and ended with wins that were widely predicted but saw some real curve balls in between. Broadcast’s dominating performance was led by the five Emmys for ABC’s heavy comedy favorite Modern Family, which won every category it was nominated in, sweeping the first four trophy presentations of the night — for best supporting actor/actress and best writing/directing in a comedy series — and making the final award of the night, for best comedy series, a foregone conclusion. Modern Family won that too for a second straight year, and its sweep shut out rival Glee, leaving Emmy host Fox empty-handed. Broadcast shows also claimed the lead actor/actress in a comedy series categories, which provided two of the major upsets of the night. Melissa McCarthy of CBS’ Mike & Molly won for lead comedy actress despite most pundits having her as their fifth or sixth pick in the category and Golden Globe winner Laura Linney considered a strong front-runner for The Big C. Fellow CBS leading man Jim Parsons denied Steve Carell an Emmy for his iconic role on The Office. (The Office and fellow 30 Rock were left out completely tonight.) McCarthy’s and Parsons’ wins also meant a comeback for the multi-camera genre, which had its first double lead actor/actress win in a long time.
Broadcast’s big night continued with Julianna Margulies winning as best actress in a drama series for CBS’ The Good Wife. The Eye network scored again in the reality competition series, where The Amazing Race won for the eighth time in nine years in the category. Additionally, Friday Night Lights, which originated on NBC and continued to air second runs on the broadcast network, scored two big wins for its final season. One went to star Kyle Chandler for lead actor in a drama series and another to showrunner Jason Katims for writing. Add to that the strong showing of pubcaster PBS, whose Masterpiece Theatre mini-series Downton Abbey won four major awards: best TV movie/miniseries, best supporting actress, Maggie Smith, and best writing and directing for a TV movie/miniseries.
Emmys Live-Blog: ‘Modern Family,’ Dominates Comedy Field, ‘Mad Men’ Squeaks Best Drama Win, Big Farewell For ‘Friday Night Lights’ And Upsets Galore
We’re off and running. The much-talked-about opening number of host Jane Lynch features the Glee star in a massive pre-taped production number having her sing and dance through the stages of a slew of hit TV shows. It opens with Leonard Nimoy who, as network president, introduces Lynch to the house of television where all TV shows are housed. The part was originally taped with Alec Baldwin but was redone after Fox cut a line about the News Corp hacking scandal. The elements are uneven, but the best bit is Lynch walking into a scene of AMC’s period ad agency drama Mad Men and being asked by Jon Hamm’s Don Draper to go fetch coffee. When Lynch fires back that she is no secretary but the host of the Emmys Pete Campbell’s Kartheiser is not impressed. “What you should be doing is learning how to type and firing the guy that gave you that man’s haircut!” Lynch tells them that a lot has changed since 1965 and now women can marry each other, nodding, “Hi, Peggy….” “Does that mean women don’t have to sleep with men anymore to make it to the top?” wide-eyed Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) asks. “No, you still have to do that,” Lynch replies. She tells the group that people can now watch television on their phones. When she adds that in the future people can fast-forward through the commercials, everyone freezes. Ad man Don Draper turns to her and gives her a steely look. “You’re going to turn around, walk out of here, and we’re going to pretend we never met you.” Lynch obliges but not before one last jab at Kartheiser, “This haircut costs more than your house. “The number spilled into the stage with a big live finale featuring Lynch hoisted up by male dancers. “Try doing this with triple Spanx,” she said after getting down.
ABC’s Modern Family is on an early roll in the supporting comedy series acting categories, dismissing some projections that, with all 6 cast members nominated in the 2 categories, they might cancel each other out. The first winner of the night is the show’s Julie Bowen for best supporting actress in a comedy series. “I don’t know what I am going to talk about in therapy next week now,” she says.
A second after she thanked her TV husband, Ty Burrell, he too walked to the stage to pick up his trophy for best supporting actor in a comedy series. Burrell talked about his dad, who passed away before he got into acting, doing “a job where every day I go to work in makeup.”
Ricky Gervais presents the director for a comedy series category in a pre-taped segment. “Sorry. I can’t be live and in person. Not after the Golden Globes. I’m not even allowed on American soil if I say something rude or offensive.”
Modern Family is going 3-for-3 with a comedy series directing award for director Michael Alan Spiller for the Halloween episode.
And now it’s 4-for-4 as Modern Family also wins for best writing in a comedy series for the “Caught in the Act” episode written by Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman. Levitan, noting that the episode’s main story of the Dunphy kids walking in on their parents having sex was based on his own experience, thanked his “somewhat satisfied wife and 3 traumatized children.” The director cuts to Levitan’s wife who is rolling her eyes.
After the early Modern Family sweep, Lynch comes back from commercial with “Welcome back to the Modern Family Awards.”
Then it’s Charlie Sheen, presenting the lead actor in a comedy series category. Like on The Tonight Show earlier in the week, it was not the Warlock but the old Sheen — cool, collected and gracious — who showed up. “Before I present the award in my old category I wanna take a moment to get something off my chest and say something to all my friends from Two and a Half Men,” he said. “From the bottom of my heart, I wish nothing but the best for this upcoming season. We spent 8 wonderful years together, I know you will continue to make great television. Now on to the Emmy.”
Matthew Weiner, Mad Men (AMC)
Why He Was Nominated: What, are you kidding? Weiner has been nominated for 18 of these things and come out on top eight times, including winning both as producer and writer for Mad Men the last three years running. He also took the prize as a producer for a little show called The Sopranos in both 2004 and 2007. The fact that Weiner has personally earned 10 nominations for Mad Men during the past three years alone is a bit astonishing, particularly when you consider that AMC wasn’t on the Emmy map at all until Weiner arrived.
Why He Has To Win: It would take almost an act of God to keep Weiner from taking both the series and writing trophies for a fourth consecutive year, in part because the Mad Men episode for which he’s nominated — “The Suitcase” — is considered both a tour de force for star Jon Hamm and one of the show’s best hours, period. And that’s saying something. The hour was essentially a writing showcase for Weiner and an acting workshop for Hamm and co-star Elisabeth Moss. Cue the bandwagon.
Why He Can’t Possibly Win: That Mad Men is nominated twice here has the possibility of splitting the vote. There’s also the school of thought that the late momentum for Friday Night Lights could carry Jason Katims (nominated for the series finale) to an upset victory. Or, you know, the sun may not rise tomorrow. Anything is possible.
David Seidler’s The King’s Speech and an episode of Friday Night Lights penned by Jason Katims were among the winners of the Humanitas Prize, which were unveiled today during a ceremony at Montage Beverly Hills. A total of 11 winners received took home a total of $85,000 in prize money for films and TV shows that “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The organization also bestowed its Kieser Award to Gary David Goldberg. Here’s the full list of winners: