EXCLUSIVE:Cuba Gooding Jr has closed a deal with 20th Century Fox TV to develop a single-camera half-hour comedy set in an old-school boxing gym. Gooding will co-create and executive produce the project with Jason Winer‘s Small Dog Picture Company. The Oscar-winning actor is not attached to star at this point, we’re told, and there’s no writer yet. Gooding and Small Dog are meeting with potential showrunners before taking the project — which is not being called a sitcom — out to networks.
Based on Gooding’s love of boxing, the series is set in a gym in a newly gentrified neighborhood where hard-core boxers, weekend warriors and soccer moms gather to practice. Read More »
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 an original idea by Winer. Written by Todd, it centers on a wife and mom who retires from her job – as a highly skilled hit-woman for the mob – and settles into domesticity. But try as she might to live the life of a normal housewife, she soon spots crime, corruption, and evil-doing beneath the quiet, green surface of Beverly Hills, and decides to clean it up and keep her family safe in the only way she knows how. The premise is reminiscent of another ABC/20th drama project, the 2010 pilot Cutthroat, which starred Mia Maestro as a Beverly Hills housewife also living a double life, laundering money for the syndicate on the side. Todd and Winer are executive producing Beverly Kills with Small Dog’s Renate Radford. This marks Small Dog’s third sale this season. The company also has comedies Man/Child at Fox andThe Runt at CBS, both with pilot production commitments.
EXCLUSIVE: Top TV comedy director Jason Winer (Modern Family) has teamed with hot comedy writer Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect) forThe 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.” Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
NBC’s new White House comedy 1600 Penn doesn’t plan to bring in real politicians as guest stars, producers said today during the show’s lunchtime panel at TCA. Executive producers Jason Winer and Jon Lovett (a former Obama speechwriter) said they will definitely have real-life reporters and media figures as guests. Lovett and other panelists said upcoming guests may include NBC correspondent Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd of NBC News and Larry King.
The creative team also said it would take a cue from the White House drama The West Wing by not bringing very recent history into the show, which stars co-creator/co-executive producer Josh Gad as the black sheep son of the White House family (Gad was also a star of Broadway’s Book of Mormon).
The show, which also stars Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman as the President and First Lady, also has Modern Family veteran Jason Winer as executive producer along with Mike Royce. Winer acknowledged that audience will probably recognize some “Modern Family DNA inherent in the family dynamics. You will start to see this family become a warm cohesive unit.” Lovett seconded the opinion that the show is more about family than politics.
Gad said he met Winer “on the Modern Family circuit” and Winer approached him about doing a White … Read More »
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. Read More »
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 ofHow 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. Read More »
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 under the watchful eye of Modern Family co-creator Levitan. Inspired by Port’s real-life experiences, the 20th TV-produced project is described as an uplifting comedy about a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiot buddies on his pick-up basketball team.
It has had a roller-coaster ride. First the spec didn’t create a bidding frenzy as it hit the marketplace very late, on January 30, when networks were pretty much done with their pilot orders. There were also some concerns over the subject matter and whether it could translate into comedy. Fox ultimately stepped up and gave Rebounding a pilot order, bringing Levitan back to the network where he had refused to return for several years following Fox’s controversial 2008 cancellation of the Levitan-Christopher Lloyd comedy series Back To You after one season. Jason Winer, who directed the Modern Family pilot, signed on to direct Rebounding and, after a long search, Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte was cast as the lead. There were early reports from the set of the pilot about a good chemistry between Levitan and Winer reminiscent of their work on the ABC/20th TV hit Modern Family. Then the finished pilot came … Read More »
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. Read More »
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. Read More »
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.” Read More »
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 Bitchin 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. Read More »
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 Winer-directed redo will be released April 8:
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 by Modern Family‘s Jason Winer. Additionally, Ritter has signed on to topline the indie feature Refuge.
On the 20th TV-produced Bitch, Ritter joins Dreama Walker (The Good Wife) who was cast a week ago as the co-lead. Written by Nahnatchka Khan, Bitch centers on June (Walker), an earnest, honest, optimistic girl from the heartland who, due to circumstances beyond her control, is forced to move in with Chloe (Ritter), a sexy, unstable New York City party girl who has the morals of a pirate.
Refuge, based on Jessica Goldberg’s play, tells the story of a young woman (Ritter), who is forced to care for her younger brother and sister after her parents have abandoned the family and ends up forming an unorthodox “family” with a young drifter. Ritter, repped by WME, Sanders Armstrong Caserta and The Group, recently wrapped production on comedy BFF & Baby, which she co-wrote with Kat Coiro and in which she stars opposite Kate Bosworth. Her series credits include Gilmore Girls, Breaking Bad and Gravity.
UPDATED: On the heels of ABC renewing its flagship comedy series Modern Family for a third season, the network is finalizing a deal to pick up a single-camera comedy pilot directed by the Modern Family pilot director Jason Winer. The 20th TV-produced project, tentatively titled Don’t Trust the Bitch in Apt. 23, was written/executive produced by American Dad executive producer Nahnatchka Khan and executive produced/supervised by former American Dad! writer-producer David Hemingson. It centers on an an earnest, honest, optimistic girl from the heartland who, due to circumstances beyond her control, is forced to move in with a sexy, unstable New York City party girl who has the morals of a pirate. Khan and Hemingson originally developed the project for Fox 2 seasons ago. Now, it is finding a second life at ABC with a pilot order and Winer as director. Bitch marks the first pilot directing gig for Winer since Modern Family, also for ABC/20th TV, which earned him an Emmy and an DGA nomination. Winer, who also served as director/co-executive producer on the first season of Family, is bring along Family producer Jeff Morton who will serve as a producer on Bitch. For Khan, the project is in second position to Connected, a single-camera comedy she has in contention at Fox. Additionally, she has comedy Dealbreaker under consideration at ABC.