EXCLUSIVE: A half-hour project, First Timers, has sold at ABC in a competitive situation, and it couldn’t have had a more perfect title. Because it marks the first sale for Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage‘s Fake Empire under the company’s rich three-year overall deal with ABC Studios. It also marks the first sale for up-and-coming writing duo Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger, currently serving as producers on the ABC/ABC Studios comedy The Neighbors. Penned by Aptaker and Berger loosely based on their own relationship, First Timers centers on twentysomething male/female business partners. The two will executive produce alongside Fake Empire’s Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein.
Starting their ABC Studios relationship with a comedy sale is symbolic for Fake Empire as expansion into half-hour comedy under the new deal has been a priority for the company, known primarily as a drama series producer. ABC Studios introduced Aptaker and Berger to Schwartz and Savage who had been tracking the duo’s career for a while (Aptaker and Berger previously staffed on I Just Want My Pants Back, Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous and Friends With Benefits) and went after the young writers after reading their adaptation of the book The Future of Us.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The new CW drama Cult that premieres February 19 surrounds what happens when the mysterious disappearance of the brother of an investigative journalist leads to a journey into the dark underbelly of a TV series and its rabid, obsessive fan base. So the first question from a critic on a TCA panel this morning asked maybe whether there was a danger in looking at passionate television fans and telling them “your passion scares me and I’m afraid you might kill me.” Exec producer and showrunner Rockne S. O’Bannon admitted that the production team is very cognizant of this issue. “But unlike other shows, we have the advantage of putting a magnifying glass on that idea itself,” he reasoned. The natural followup query is whether there is indeed a certain cause-and-effect between TV and movie content and certain behaviors from impressionable fans. Exec producer Len Goldstein explained that Cult is absolutely peering at the relationship between fans and their shows, “which is certainly more pronounced than ever before…
January has become a TV spec market month. For a second consecutive year there has been a flurry of spec scripts sent to the broadcast networks just as they are preparing to make their pilot orders. I hear that more than a dozen drama specs were sent to the five nets this weekend, including high-profile projects by Gossip Girl and Chuck co-creator Josh Schwartz: an adaptation of the British sci-fi series Misfits, and by The X-Files creator Chris Carter, female-driven mystery thriller Unique.
Known primarily for its hourlong series, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire has sold a half-hour comedy pitch to Fox. The single-camera comedy about three childhood friends who are all now fathers with teenage sons will be written by Barry Schwartz, who will co-executive produce. Fake Empire’s Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein will executive produce for Warner Bros TV. Fake Empire has three series on the air this season: NBC’s dramedy Chuck and the CW dramas Gossip Girl and Hart of Dixie. On the feature side, Barry Schwartz, repped by WME and the Gotham Group, sold Bromance to Montecito and DreamWorks and Parents Weekend to Kopelson Entertainment.
Writer-director Nancy Hower and her writing/producing partner, actor John Lehr, have sold a half-hour comedy pitch to NBC. Titled Retreat, the project is set at a corporate retreat. The sale was made based on a demo Hower and Lehr shot, which Hower directed and Lehr starred in. The demo, made in association with EUE/Sokolow, was probably helpful, as the duo uses a hybrid scripted/improv style where their scripts are incredibly detailed but don’t feature any dialogue.
A month ago we reported that The Carrie Diaries, a TV series project based on Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell’s recent book about Carrie Bradshaw’s high school years, was headed to the CW. That has now become a reality after the project was pitched to the network on Friday and bought in the room. Under the deal, which is being finalized, Warner Bros. TV is producing with Gossip Girl executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s studio-based Fake Empire banner. Former Sex and the City writer/producer Amy Harris, who is writing for Gossip Girl this season, is penning the adaptation and executive producing with Bushnell, Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein. The Carrie Diaries is a young-adult novel that chronicles Carrie’s senior year of high school in a small New England town. Because of its young skew, it was never considered for HBO, which adapted Bushnell’s anthology book Sex and the City into the hugely popular comedy series created by Darren Star and starring Sarah Jessica Parker.
EXCLUSIVE: With their sharp fashion sense and busy social life in Manhattan, the young ladies from the CW’s Gossip Girl often evoke Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw. Now a teen version of Bradshaw herself may be joining the CW’s lineup. I hear that the CW has emerged as the leading candidate for The Carrie Diaries, a TV series project based on Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell’s recent book about Bradshaw’s high school years. There are no deals in place, and talks are in preliminary stages, but I hear that Warner Bros TV would produce and Gossip Girl executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage are being courted to shepherd the project through their Warner Bros TV-based Fake Empire banner. Former Sex and the City writer/producer Amy Harris, who is writing for Gossip Girl this season, will likely pen the adaptation.
Because it previously adapted Bushnell’s Sex and the City into a hugely popular series, HBO has the rights to The Carrie Diaries, a young-adult novel that chronicles Carrie’s senior year of high school in a small New England town. But since the book is much younger skewing than HBO’s audience, the pay cable network had been seeking another outlet for the potential series. “Discussions are underway for The Carrie Diaries, Candace Bushnell’s book about Carrie Bradshaw’s high school years, to find a home as a potential television series,” HBO said in a statement.