EXCLUSIVE: For his first writing effort since the end of Happy Endings, the series’ showrunner Jonathan Groff is taking on another single-camera comedy about a group a friends. CBS has given a put pilot commitment to The 40s, which explores the trials and tribulations of that special time in life for a group of friends living on the same street. Groff is writing and executive producing for ABC Studios where he is under an overall deal. This is the second put pilot commitment at CBS for ABC Studios, which has been very aggressive in selling to outside networks this season, along with a multi-camera comedy from Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and Danny Chun.
Glee‘s Jonathan Groff and Joe Mantello have been cast in The Normal Heart, HBO‘s original movie adaptation of the Tony-winning Larry Kramer play, which is being written by Kramer and directed by Ryan Murphy. They join Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons and Taylor Kitsch in the pic, which tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s. Production is slated to begin later this year in New York for a 2014 debut.
Groff, repped by WME, already has a gig with HBO, having been cast as a lead in the premium network’s Michael Lannen pilot, which revolves around three thirtysomething friends living in San Francisco who grapple with the complexities of the modern gay experience. In Normal Heart he will play Craig, the first lover of Bruce Niles (Kitsch), an early victim of HIV-AIDS. Mantello will play Mickey Marcus, an instrumental member of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.
Murphy executive produces with Jason Blum, Dede Gardner and Dante Di Loreto.
Jonathan Groff will voice the extreme mountain man Kristoff in Walt Disney Animation Studios‘ 3D comedy-adventure Frozen, which is set to premiere November 27, 2013. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel already are aboard for the pic, which takes place as a prophecy traps a kingdom in eternal winter. Anna, a fearless optimist, teams with Kristoff and his sidekick reindeer on a journey to find Anna’s sister Elsa, the Snow Queen, and put an end to her icy spell. Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee are directing and Peter Del Vecho is producing. Groff’s credits include Broadway’s Spring Awakening, which earned him a Tony nomination, and Fox’s Glee. His feature films include Taking Woodstock, Twelve-Thirty and The Conspirator. He is repped by WME.
Sanaa Lathan and Glee heartthrob Jonathan Groff have landed new regular roles on the second season of Starz’s drama series Boss. The Lionsgate TV-produced series stars recent Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer as ruthless Chicago mayor Tom Kane. Lathan is finalizing a deal to play Mona, Kane’s incorruptible new chief of staff, who becomes an obsession for him. Lathan, repped by ICM and John Carrabino, voices the female lead on Fox’s The Cleveland Show and was most recently seen in the feature Contagion. Groff will play Ian Todd, a smart and ambitious staffer in Kane’s office who steps into the void Ezra Stone (Martin Donovan) has left to offer astute council to Kane. WME-repped Groff is best known for his recurring role as villain-turned-good guy Jesse St. James on the Fox musical dramedy Glee.
Human Target executive producer Brad Kern has been tapped as executive producer/showrunner on ABC’s drama pilot Poe. The crime procedural, from writer-exec producer Chris Hollier, Warner Bros. TV and Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures, follows Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Kern previously served as showrunner on the WB’s Charmed.
24 showrunner Howard Gordon will serve as executive producer/showrunner on REM, Kyle Killen’s drama pilot for NBC described as an Inception-style thriller about a cop living in two different realities. The gig falls under Gordon’s overall deal with 20th TV. In addition to REM, Gordon has the pilot Homeland, which he co-wrote, in contention at Showtime. If the two projects go to series, Gordon could conceivably run both the way Shawn Ryan juggled showrunner duties on The Shield and Lie to Me.
The Cape showrunner John Wirth has joined the CW’s drama pilot Cooper & Stone as exec producer-showrunner. The pilot, from writer-exec producer Laurie Arent and CBS TV Studios, is about two smart young female detectives on Chicago’s North Side who are best friends, equally adept at discussing fashion, music, pop culture as they are solving homicides. Wirth also served as co-showrunner on The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
Jonathan Groff, showrunner of ABC’s midseason comedy Happy Endings, will serve in the …