EXCLUSIVE: Feature writer director and Undeclared alum Nick Stoller is returning to television with Hot Mess, a single-camera project that attracted multiple bidders and is now in negotiations to go to CBS with a rich put pilot commitment. Stoller is writing and attached to direct the comedy, from 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment. Loosely based on Stoller’s real-life experiences, Hot Mess is a twenty-something ensemble comedy about a guy who gets his heart broken by his girlfriend and now has to work one cubicle away from her. Stoller is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope. CBS’ aggressive play for Hot Mess underscores the network’s recent shift toward younger, edgier comedies with shows like How I Met Your Mother and new fall entry Two Broke Girls as well as the decision to replace Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men. It marks a rare venturing into the single-camera format for the network, known for its brand of multi-camera sitcoms. The sale also continues comedy projects’ hot streak this summer as a slew of half-hour pitches have landed big commitments. Stoller is a member of the Judd Apatow’s gang. He got his break on Apatow’s Fox comedy series Underclared, and like his boss, he segued to movies right after. UTA-repped Stoller did several films with Apatow, including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which Stoller directed, and its offshoot Get Him to the Greek, which he wrote and directed. Stoller’s feature credits also include Yes Man and the upcoming The Muppets, which he co-wrote, and The Five-Year Engagement, which he co-wrote and directed. His co-writer on both was another frequent collaborator and Apatow cohort, Jason Segel, who is also at CBS as a star on How I Met Your Mother.
EXCLUSIVE: Chernin Entertainment is getting serious about comedy. The 20th Century Fox TV-based television division of the company has hired Tasha Brown as VP comedy, its first executive dedicated to developing half-hour projects. She started this week reporting to TV president Katherine Pope. Brown comes from BBC Worldwide Prods where she served as director of comedy development and worked on developing projects based on BBC formats, including Gavin and Stacey at ABC.