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CBS Buys Kari Lizer Comedy As Put Pilot

By | Thursday August 16, 2012 @ 6:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Kari Lizer is back at CBS. Two years after the cancellation of her CBS comedy The New Adventures Of Old Christine, the network has given a put pilot commitment to a new multi-camera comedy project from the writer-producer. It marks a departure for Lizer as it is her first show that doesn’t have a female lead. The untitled sitcom centers on a guy who finally meets the woman of his dreams but she happens to be his cousin’s fiancée. Warner Bros. TV, where Lizer is based, is producing with her Kari’s Logo Here banner.

For the two development cycles after the May 2010 cancellation of Old Christine, which came down to the wire and didn’t allow Lizer to give the five-year comedy a proper ending, she opted to take her projects elsewhere. She pitched CBS, which had been courting her for while, earlier this week. In a great meeting, CBS execs bought the project in the room, bringing Lizer back to the network where she has had her biggest success to date.

Lizer has an impressive streak of all of her scripts so far going to pilot: Old Christine at CBS, True at the WB, an untitled comedy starring Sarah Paulson at NBC in 2011, and Lady Friends starring Minnie Driver and Andrea Anders at NBC and The Unprofessional starring Mary McCormack at ABC this past season. Lizer, who worked on Will & Grace before branching out … Read More »

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‘Torchwood’ Star Cast In ABC’s ‘Gilded Lilys’, Greg Germann In Net’s Kari Lizer Pilot

By | Tuesday March 6, 2012 @ 6:08pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Torchwood star John Barrowman has landed the last series regular role on KJ Steinberg and Shonda Rhimes’ ABC period drama pilot Gilded Lilys. Set in 1895, it centers on the Lilys, who are looking to revive their family’s fortunes by opening the most lavish hotel in New York history. Barrowman, best known for his role as Captain Jack Harkness on Torchwood, will play playboy brother Julius Lily. After one modestly rated season on Starz, the cult British sci-fi drama was quietly shelved. While it hasn’t been officially cancelled per the pay cable network, there are currently no plans for a new season, and Gilded Lilys has Barrowman in first position. The pilot reunites Barrowman with ABC and ABC Studios after doing an arc on the network and the studio’s dramedy Desperate Housewives in 2010. He is with WME and UK’s Gavin Barker Assoc.

Ally McBeal alum Greg Germann is set to co-star opposite Mary McCormack in Kari Lizer’s ABC comedy pilot, aka The Unprofessional. The multi-camera comedy, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne (McCormack), a high-powered executive who, having dominated the corporate America for years, now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers. Germann, repped by APA and The Collective, will play Hilary’s frequently traveling husband and the father of their 2 kids … Read More »

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Minnie Driver To Star In Kari Lizer’s NBC Comedy & The Winding Road To Get There

By | Thursday March 1, 2012 @ 4:53pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Minnie Driver is set to star opposite Andrea Anders in Kari Lizer’s NBC comedy pilot Lady Friends. The Warner Bros. TV-produced project is about two life-long female friends who are living very different lives but couldn’t live without each other. Nicole (Anders) has everything going for her. Her best friend, Jen (Driver), has parents who have no faith in her, terrible instincts that led her to a 17-day marriage to a guy who dumped her, and she gained 15 pounds on the cabbage soup diet. And yet, somehow, she is Nicole’s rock.

Lady Friends landed Driver in a nail-biter, after a month-long pursuit. The producers cast the other lead, Anders, at the beginning of February when they also identified Driver as the choice for Jen. The problem was that Driver was under a talent deal at ABC, which would not release her. Executives and agents tried persuasion, which didn’t work. Then the network, NBC, used gamesmanship in the form of some good old horse trading. ABC wanted Kal Penn, who had a talent deal at NBC, to star in its comedy pilot Prairie Dogs. NBC offered to release Penn from his deal if ABC would let Driver go so she could do Lady Friends. That didn’t work either. (Penn did end up doing Prairie Dogs.) In the end, patience and perseverance paid off. ABC finally released Driver and she quickly closed a deal with Warner Bros. for Lady Friends. The Oscar-nominated former … Read More »

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Mary McCormack Set As The Lead In Kari Lizer’s ABC Comedy Pilot

By | Sunday February 19, 2012 @ 9:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

In Plain Sight star Mary McCormack, has lined up her next series gig, playing the lead in Kari Lizer’s untitled ABC comedy pilot (aka The Unprofessional). The  multi-camera comedy, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne (McCormack), a high-powered executive who, having dominated the corporate America for years, now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers. McCormack segues to the ABC pilot from a five-year stint as the star of USA’s U.S. Marshal drama In Plain Sight, whose fifth and final season premieres on March 16. McCormack’s other series credits include The West Wing, Murder One and the HBO semi-scripted DC comedy K Street. She is with Gersh and Untitled.

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Andrea Anders To Star In NBC’s Kari Lizer Pilot, Aimee Garcia Joins NBC’s ‘County’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 6:24pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Andrea Anders has landed one of the two leads in NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer comedy pilot. It centers on two life-long female friends who are living very different lives but can’t live without each other. Nicole (Anders) has everything going for her — loving parents and in-laws, adoring husband, successful siblings and a trouble-free pregnancy. Her best friend, Jen, has parents who have no faith in her, terrible instincts that led her to a 17-day marriage to a guy who dumped her, and she gained 15 pounds on the cabbage soup diet. And yet, somehow, she is Nicole’s rock. The project reunites Anders with Warner Bros. TV which cast her in her first starring role on the NBC comedy Joey. Anders co-starred on another WBTV series, The Class, before she played the female lead on 2 ABC comedies, Better Off Ted and Mr. Sunshine.

Aimee Garcia (Dexter) has been cast in NBC’s drama pilot County, a medical drama from writer-exec producer Jason Katims starring Jason Ritter. The Universal TV-produced project chronicles the lives of a group of young doctors, nurses, and administrators in a frenetic underfunded and morally compromising LA County Hospital. Garcia will play one of them, a sharp-witted, no-nonsense new intern at the hospital. County marks the second NBC/Universal TV medical drama gig for Garcia who also co-starred on the 2009 series Trauma.

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ABC Picks Up Kari Lizer Mom Comedy

By | Tuesday January 17, 2012 @ 1:38pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

New Adventures Of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer has emerged as an early star of the broadcast pilot season with 2 orders. On the heels of NBC greenlighting her female buddy comedy Friday evening, ABC just picked up her other project. I can’t think of another case of a comedy writer-producer who has gotten 2 pilots picked up by mid-January when the broadcast networks are barely starting to order their dramas. Lizer’s untitled multi-camera comedy, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on Hilary Pfeiffer-Dunne, a high-powered executive who, having dominated the corporate America for years, now faces the biggest challenge of her life when she finds herself unemployed and acting as a full-time mom to her two teenagers. Both of Lizer’s pitches this season sold with put pilot commitments in September. The green light at ABC extends Lizer’s impressive streak of having all of her scripts to date picked up to pilot: Old Christine at CBS, True at the WB, an untitled comedy at NBC last year and her new NBC and ABC projects this year. It also continues the great success female comedy writers are enjoying at the moment. The Will & Grace alumna is repped by Scott Schwartz.

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NBC Picks Up Kari Lizer Female Buddy Comedy Pilot

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 6:32pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Can women comedy writers be any hotter? Two comedy pilots picked up today — both from female creators! NBC has given the green light to an untitled multi-camera comedy from The New Adventures Of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer. The untitled comedy (form. Lady Friends) hails from Warner Bros TV and Lizer’s Kari’s Logo Here production banner. It is about two life-long female friends who are living very different lives but couldn’t live without each other. Nicole has everything gong for her — loving parents and in-laws, adoring husband, successful siblings and a trouble-free pregnancy. Her best friend, Jen, has parents who have no faith in her, terrible instincts that led her to a 17-day marriage to a guy who dumped her, and she gained 15 pounds on the cabbage soup diet. And yet, somehow, she is Nicole’s rock. NBC landed the project in September in a 4-way bidding war with a put pilot commitment. This is Will & Grace alumna Lizer’s second consecutive pilot at NBC following last year’s untitled workplace comedy, which starred Sarah Paulson. She may go for a double as her other project this development season, a family comedy, is tracking strong at ABC where it also has a put pilot commitment. Lizer is on a streak — all of her scripts to date have been picked up to pilot, Old Christine at CBS, … Read More »

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Kari Lizer Family Comedy Lands At ABC With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Thursday September 15, 2011 @ 6:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a rare feat for a female showrunner, Kari Lizer has landed a second project with a major commitment this season. I hear that ABC has nabbed a multi-camera comedy from the New Adventures Of Old Christine creator with a put pilot commitment. The project centers on a powerful female executive who suddenly finds herself as a stay-at-home mom with 3 teenage kids and has no idea how that works. Upon completion of the deal between ABC and Warner Bros. TV Lizer, who has 3 teen kids herself, will write and executive produce the untitled comedy. WBTV, where Lizer is under an overall deal, will co-produce with Lizer’s banner Kari’s Logo Goes Here. The pact at ABC comes on the heels of another Lizer multi-camera Lady Friends, sparking a bidding war before landing at NBC with a put pilot commitment. Will & Grace alum Lizer, whose every script to date has been picked up to pilot, is repped by Scott Schwartz.

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Female Buddy Comedy From Kari Lizer Lands At NBC With Put Pilot Commitment

By | Wednesday September 7, 2011 @ 5:04pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: After several days of heated bidding among the major broadcast networks that started before the holiday weekend and continued this week, I’ve learned that NBC has nabbed a multi-camera comedy from The New Adventures Of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer with a put pilot commitment. The project, titled Lady Friends, hails from Warner Bros TV and Lizer’s Kari’s Logo Here production banner. It is about two longtime female friends who are living very different lives but couldn’t live without each other. Read More »

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Adrian Pasdar To Star In NBC’s Kari Lizer Comedy Pilot

By | Friday March 25, 2011 @ 1:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Former Heroes star Adrian Pasdar is back at NBC, this time on the comedy side. In what would be his first regular gig on a half-hour series, Pasdar has been tapped as the male lead opposite Sarah Paulson in NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer pilot. The project, from Warner Bros TV, is a workplace comedy about Mary Leahy (Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Pasdar will play Brad, a super-confident guy who has drunk sex with Mary in a bar bathroom. After seeing how charming he is, Mary and her partner ask him to join their company. This is actually Pasdar’s second comedy pilot, and both times he has been cast under Bob Greenblatt: In 2003, he did the Lifetime pilot A Screwball Homicide, which was executive produced by Greenblatt, now head of NBC, where the Lizer pilot is set. Pasdar, repped by ICM and Fidelity, recently did an arc on ABC’s comedic drama Castle.

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TV CASTINGS: Slew Of Actors Join Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows has joined NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer project. The workplace comedy centers on Mary (Sarah Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Meadows, repped by APA and Brillstein Entertainment, will play Mary’s  partner, a psychotherapist and the reality check to Mary’s eternal optimism.

Off the Map co-star Zach Gilford has been cast as the male lead in the Fox single-camera pilot Iceland. The project centers on Mackenzie (Kerry Bishe), a twentysomething woman whose fiance recently passed away. Gilford, from WME and D/F Management, will play a guy friend of Mackenzie described as “bad influence.” For Gilford, the casting is in second position to Off the Map. He is the third cast member from the midseason drama to book a pilot this season along with Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre, both cast in NBC’s Reconstruction.

Paul Blackthorne (Lipstick Jungle) has just been cast in the ABC drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller centers on Lincoln Cole (Joe Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps. Blackthorne, repped by SDB Partners, Seven Summits & Optimism, will play the producer of Emmet Cole’s long-running documentary series. Read More »

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Martin Henderson, Sarah Paulson & Lauren Ambrose Tapped As The Leads Of 3 Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Three high-profile pilots just landed their leads: Martin Henderson will headline NBC’s drama The Crossing, Sarah Paulson will star in NBC’s Kari Lizer comedy and Lauren Ambrose will topline Fox’s drama Weekends at Bellevue.

Written by Josh Brand and directed by Peter Horton, The Crossing is set in a Missouri town during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and centers on Jason (Henderson), a Civil War soldier who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior – whether he likes it or not. The casting is in second position to Henderson’s current series, ABC’s softly-rated midseason drama Off the Map. The Crossing’s female lead is Henderson’s Off the Map co-star Rachelle Lefevre who is also in second position to the ABC medical drama, so NBC is making a big gamble that Off the Map won’t come back for a second season.

The untitled Kari Lizer multicamera comedy, from Warner Bros. TV, is a workplace comedy about a relationship-challenged woman (Paulson) who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. The casting of Paulson lifts the contingency on the project. ICM-repped Paulson was the female lead on NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and ABC’s Cupid. Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which she stars, was recently picked up by … Read More »

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NBC Picks Up Comedy Pilot From Kari Lizer

Nellie Andreeva

In what could be the last comedy pilot pickup at NBC this season, the network has given a cast-contingent order to a multi-camera comedy from The New Adventures of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer. The project, produced by Warner Bros. TV where Lizer is under an overall deal, is a workplace comedy about a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. The comedy sparked a bidding war when it hit the marketplace in October, eventually landing at NBC with a production commitment. It brings Lizer back to NBC where she worked on Will & Grace for 4 years before segueing to developing. The pickup at NBC means that all of Lizer’s projects so far have gone to pilot. She previously developed during the 2004-05 season when she sold Christine to CBS and True to the WB. Both were ordered to pilot and Christine went on to become a series, which wrapped its 5-year run on CBS in May and earned star Julia Louis-Dreyfus a best comedy actress Emmy in 2005. A busy pickup season is winding down at NBC, which may pick up another couple of dramas and possibly one more comedy.

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NBC Picks Up Comedy From ‘Old Christine’ Creator Kari Lizer

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In one of the most heated bidding wars for a comedy project this season, a new half-hour by The New Adventures of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer just landed at NBC with a big production commitment. All 4 major broadcast networks were after the show, a workplace comedy about a woman helping people transition between jobs. In the end, it went to the network most closely associated with workplace comedy, NBC, and the network where Lizer honed her skills as a comedy writer on Will & Grace for 4 years before segueing to developing. Lizer’s new project is produced by Warner Bros. TV where Lizer is under a multi-year overall deal and Lizer’s Kari’s Logo Here production banner. The last time Lizer developed was during the 2004-05 season when she sold two comedies through WBTV, Christine to CBS and True to the WB. Read More »

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