Beverly Kills, a drama from Don Todd (Samantha Who?) and Jason Winer, has landed at ABC with significant penalty. The project, from 20th TV and Winer’s studio-based Small Dog Picture Co., is based on …
EXCLUSIVE: Top TV comedy director Jason Winer (Modern Family) has teamed with hot comedy writer Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect) for The Runt, a half-hour project that has landed at CBS with a pilot production commitment. Written by Cannon and to be directed by Winer, The Runt is a single camera comedy about a group of five adult siblings from the point of view of The Runt. Always the scrawniest and the butt of the joke, she’s now the most successful. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t seem to break the family dynamics established when she was a kid. 20th Century Fox TV, where both Winer and Cannon are under overall deals, is producing. This marks the first sale for Winer’s Small Dog Picture Co, launched in June when he brought in NBC executive Renate Radford to run it. Winer, Cannon and Radford executive produce. Winer said Cannon was at the top of his and Radford’s priority list. “Kay and I have similar comedy DNA,” said Winer, noting that she is from Chicago where he went to college and both have ties to the town’s ImrovOlympic and Second City troupes. The two had tried to work together before but “the business gods didn’t smile at us” until this year. “We wanted to get a very personal show out of Kay,” Winer said. “She is from a family of 7 brothers and sisters and is the self-described runt, the smallest and scrappiest and always the butt of the jokes.” Things have not changed much now that Cannon is a successful writer, Winer added. He too relates to the premise. “As a diminutive guy, I identify with the concept of the runt and the person who always fights for the little guy,” he said, adding that the character on the show is an attorney who represents clients in class action lawsuits, “always fighting for the weak against the strong.”
NBC development executive Renate Radford has joined director-producer Jason Winer‘s Small Dog Picture Co. Starting on Monday, she will oversee development for the company, which is based at 20th Century Fox TV with an overall deal. “Jason is the premiere single camera comedy director working in this business right now, and we are all excited about building the ‘Jason Winer brand,’” 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. “We’ve worked with Renate for years when she was an executive at NBC and she is the perfect person to help Jason grow his company. Getting her as his head of development was a coup.” For the past 7 years, Radford worked as VP comedy development at NBC and previously was development executive at Universal TV (then NBC Uni TV Studios) and its pre-Universal merger predecessor, NBC Studios.
EXCLUSIVE: Jason Winer is set to direct and executive produce two single-camera comedy pilots this season: David E. Kelley’s CBS project starring Robin Williams and Fox’s The Gabriels (formerly House Rules) executive produced by David Dobkin. Both are produced by 20th TV where Winer is under an overall deal.
The Kelley/Williams comedy, which CBS is yet to formally greenlight, is written/exec produced by The Practice and Ally McBeal creator. Set in the world of advertising, it stars Williams as a brilliant ad executive working alongside his daughter. Andrew Gurland and Justin Hurwitz’ The Gabriels centers on a neurotic family with contempt for all things normal that tries their best to fit into their small Midwest town where everyone knows each other and politeness reigns. Gurland, Hurwitz and Dobkin executive produce with Peter Principato and Paul Young.
Jason Winer, who directed the pilots for such 20th Century Fox TV comedy series as Modern Family, Don’t Trust The B—- and the upcoming 1600 Penn, is extending and expanding his relationship with the studio. Winer has signed a new three-year deal with 20th TV. Under the pact, he will continue to serve as executive producer and producing director of NBC’s 1600 Penn, which was just slotted for a January 10 launch on Thursday night. He also will continue to develop new projects for the studio, now through his own production company, Small Dog Picture Co., which he is launching under the new deal. “We made this deal with with the intention of building a production company for him here at 20th TV to take all those great relationships he has established with writers, actors and other directors and catapult him to next level,” said 20th TV chairman Dana Walden.
EXCLUSIVE: In a very competitive situation, a single-camera comedy from director-producer Jason Winer (1600 Penn) and writer-producers Tami Sagher and Kourtney Kang just went to CBS with a pilot production commitment. Titled Nerds In Love, the project, from 20th Century Fox TV where Winer is under an overall deal, is based on the unlikely real-life friendship of How I Met Your Mother writers Kang (former cheerleader) and Sagher (former mathlete). It explores the dating lives of the social haves and have-nots at a marketing firm. “It lies somewhere between 2 Broke Girls and The Big Bang Theory,” said Winer, who is executive producing and will direct the potential pilot. HIMYM exec producer Kang and co-exec producer Sagher will write the script and executive produce.
The highest-profile casualty at Fox, which picked up three new comedy series today and passed on everything else, was the Steve Levitan-produced pilot Rebounding. The single-camera project was written on spec by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman …
NBC To Order Josh Gad-Jason Winer Comedy Pilot With Gad Starring; Actor Also Poised To Topline MGM Feature ‘The Game’
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that NBC is about to hand out a late pilot order to 1600 Penn, a White House family comedy from Book Of Mormon star Josh Gad, Modern Family director Jason Winer and former speechwriter to President Barack Obama Jon Lovett. The order comes after Gad, originally only attached as co-writer and executive producer, also has agreed to also star in the project, produced by 20th Century Fox TV where Winer is under an overall deal. Additionally, Gad is in negotiations to play the lead opposite James Franco in Brian Koppelman and David Levien’s feature The Game at MGM produced by the Weitz Brothers. The movie is based by the book by Neil Strauss chronicling his efforts to become a pick-up artist. Gad will play Strauss, a Rolling Stone journalist who is a great writer but is not great at picking up women. He goes undercover and his life changes. Franco plays Strauss’ teacher.
1600 Penn, co-created by Gad, Winer and Lovett, is a dysfunctional family comedy where the out-of-control oldest son (Gad) returns home and becomes not only it’s biggest liability but also the glue holding everyone together. The twist is that this family resides in the White House. NBC nabbed the pitch in October with a put pilot commitment. The project was tracking well and many were surprised when it didn’t end up among the 13 half-hour pilots picked up at NBC. But conversations between the network and 20th TV continued, zeroing on the possibility for Gad to star. After several days of intense negotiations, Gad agreed to do it, clearing the way for a pilot green light.
From NBC, the network that brought us The West Wing, comes 1600 Penn, a family comedy set at the White House. The network bought pre-emptively the single-camera comedy — from Book Of Mormon star Josh Gad, Modern Family director Jason Winer and former speechwriter to President Barack Obama Jon Lovett — with a put pilot commitment. Gad, Winer and Lovett co-created the project, about a dysfunctional family that just happens to live at the most famous address in America, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 20th Century Fox TV, where Winer is under an overall deal, is producing. The premise originated with Winer and longtime friend Gad bouncing around possible series ideas until they settled on the First Family comedy setup. They knew they needed a writer and turned to 20th TV. Conveniently, the studio had signed a script deal with former Obama speechwriter Lovett, who had taken meetings indicating that he wanted to get into the half-hour scripted comedy business. 20th TV got the trio together and they honed the idea for 1600 Penn. All three will executive produce, with Lovett writing the script and Winer attached to direct.
EXCLUSIVE: The network, the studio and the director behind red-hot Modern Family are re-teaming for another family comedy, this time with a workplace twist. ABC has nabbed single-camera half-hour project Sneaky People, from director Jason Winer, writers Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener and 20th Century Fox TV with a script commitment plus a significant penalty. Sneaky People is described as an unconventional workplace comedy about a dysfunctional family of skilled liars that run a private investigation agency out of their house in Venice. The title has a double meaning. “They’re catching people, and in their world they are also lying about stuff,” Bycel said about the family at the center of the show, which consists of a father, an adult daughter (around 30) and two younger siblings.
The inspiration for the show came from Winer whose mom worked as a private investigator when he was in high school, handling mostly insurance fraud cases. “She was this sweet housewife who was incredibly good at misrepresenting herself when necessary and deceiving people,” Winer said. “And she was almost proud of me when I was attempting any kind of deception.”
In what would be his first major comedy series gig, Dawson’s Creek alum James Van Der Beek is set to co-star in the ABC/20th TV comedy pilot Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23. The Nahnatchka Khan/Dave Hemingson project, to be directed by Modern Family‘s Jason Winer, centers on June (Dreama Walker), an earnest, honest, optimistic girl from the heartland who is forced to move in with Chloe (Krysten Ritter), a sexy, unstable New York City party girl who has the morals of a pirate. Van Der Beek will play Chloe’s best friend James Van Der Beek, a heightened version of himself in the vein of Neil Patrick Harris’ stint in the Harold & Kumar movies and Matt LaBlanc’s starring role on the Showtime comedy Episodes. The role, originally named after and eyed for former ‘N Sync singer Lance Bass, is being completely rewritten for Van Der Beek.
Van Der Beek has always been sought after during pilot season for drama projects. But, following his viral videos for FunnyOrDie.com, for the first time this season, he fielded all comedy offers. On TV, Van Der Beek, repped by Paradigm and Brillstein Entertainment, most recently co-stared on the NBC medical drama Mercy. He also did a memorable guest spot on the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother as Robin’s ex. Here is one of the Van Der Beek’s FunnyOrDie videos, in which he pokes fun at his character on Dawson’s.
Warner Bros has issued a new trailer for Arthur, with Russell Brand playing the drunken playboy originated by Dudley Moore in 1981, Helen Mirren in John Gielgud’s role, Greta Gerwig the street smart woman originated by Liza Minnelli, and Jennifer Garner as the uptight society gal he’s engaged to. The Jason …
EXCLUSIVE: Krysten Ritter, who has been among the most sought-after actresses this pilot season with multiple offers, will play the lead in ABC’s single-camera comedy pilot Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23 (working title), which is directed …