In a competitive situation, ABC is finalizing a deal to buy two projects from Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman: one with DreamWorks TV, Red Band Society, and one with Ben Silverman’s Electus, The Avalon. Both are based on international formats and neither is cookie-cutter, traditional broadcast fare. Red Band Society, which Kauffman will write and showrun, is based on the Spanish format Polseres Vermelles and revolves around young hospital patients. The Avalon, which Kauffman will write with Jessica Queller (Gossip Girl), is based on the Pan Asian format The Kitchen Musical and is a musical drama set at a restaurant. Both shows have been laid off at ABC Studios. I hear that ABC made a substantial, seven-figure commitment to Kauffman, which makes a pilot order likely. This marks Kauffman’s first year developing without Warner Bros TV, where she was based for nearly 20 years. She opted not to renew her deal there and take the indie route so she can partner with different companies on different projects and explore both broadcast and cable development.
EXCLUSIVE: ABC is going to the circus with Bazirkus, a soap from writer Mitch Kapner (Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful) and Sander/Moses (The Ghost Whisperer). Meanwhile, Fox continues to search for a new medical franchise with a script deal for a dramedy from Gossip Girl writer-producer Jessica Queller and Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods.
Bazirkus is based loosely on 32-year-old Nicole Feld of Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus, who grew up in the circus her grandfather bought in 1967 and has become the first female producer in Ringling Bros’ history. The ABC project, which will be set at a fictional circus, is a family/workplace soap about unfulfilled dreams and great expectations in the circus world where everyone is pushing the limits, personally and professionally, to reinvent themselves as they reinvent their world. “This is drama that brings the circus into the 21st century, it will take us behind the curtain as well as center stage,” said Ian Sander and Kim Moses, who are executive producing with Kapner. ABC Studios, where UTA-repped Sander/Moses is under a deal, will produce. Kapner, who also penned The Whole Nine Yards, is with Gersh.
Jessica Queller’s Fox medical dramedy centers on a young neurologist who is a single mother of a sperm-donor baby. The show will chronicle (with humor) her struggle to balance work, motherhood, family and romance as she moves to Boston to start a new job that she hopes will help her find a cure for her ailing brother. 21 Laps/Adelstein is producing with 20th TV, where the company is based. Queller, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements are executive producing.