EXCLUSIVE: NBC has given a pilot order to Beautiful People, a character-driven futuristic drama spec by Cougar Town co-executive producer/director (and occasional actor) Michael McDonald. ABC Studios and Universal TV are producing. Beautiful People is described as an imaginative and …
EXCLUSIVE: USA Network has passed on its pilot Eden. The hourlong project, from Universal Cable Prods. and writers Ken and Mary Hanes, centered on a young hotel worker (Nick D’Agosto) who, with the help of his escaped con artist cousin (Enver Gjokaj), gets a job as the concierge at …
EXCLUSIVE: Disney XD, the cable network targeting boys 6-14, has handed a pilot order to Gulliver Quinn, a live-action comedy headlined by Napoleon Dynamite star Jon Heder. Written by Dan Kopelman (Malcolm In the Middle), the project centers on Gulliver Quinn (Heder), a grown man enrolled in the seventh grade after his family returns from a 15-year research expedition. Rob Schrab will direct the pilot, which is now casting the other roles. Heder and Kopelman are executive producing with veteran tween series producer Stan Rogow (Lizzie McGuire). “It’s an absolute coup for Disney XD to be working with Jon — he is a tremendous comedic talent, and Dan Kopelman’s brilliant script is the perfect project to showcase his quirky sense of humor,” said Adam Bonnett, SVP, Original Programming, Disney Channels.
EXCLUSIVE: From the network that made international stars out of Snookie and The Situation comes a comedy about young people’s obsession with celebrity and with reality TV as a way to become famous. MTV has given the green light to single-camera comedy pilot Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous, co-created by hot 20-year-old comedian Bo Burnham and writer Dan Lagana and starring Burnham. It is a mocumentary, which centers on Zach (Burnham), a kid fresh out of high school who hires a camera crew to film him because he wants to be famous. “It’s that idea that your life is not worth anything if you’re not watched,” Burnham said.
Burnham said he’s always been a fan of mocumentaries, but while they mostly are about subjects being caught in the act and often embarrassed, he decided to put a spin on the genre by giving the person who is being watched control. “The idea is of a kid who is filming his own life, and since he has control, we can see multiple takes as he is trying to make himself more appealing by thinking that you have to act like you are famous in order to be famous,” Burnham said. “He is the director and the star of a reality show.” Burnham cites a survey of 18- to 25-year-olds asked what they want to be in life. The winning “profession” by a wide margin — being famous. “People aspire to fame as if it’s a career,” Lagana said.
UPDATED: Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun’s three-year effort to turn the New York Times‘ column Modern Love into a TV series is bearing fruit: the project has received a pilot order at Lifetime. Additionally, the network’s resurgent drama series Army Wives will extend its five-year run – it is being renewed for a sixth season with a 13-episode order. On the unscripted side, the network has picked up 6 new series, including an all-star edition of Project Runway.
Created and executive produced by Sex and the City alumna Jenny Bicks, dramedy Modern Love will weave actual stories from NYT‘s column to explore the state of modern relationships. It follows newspaper science editor Simon McElvane as he faces a deteriorating marriage, the ramifications of potentially starting over and balancing his relationship with his adopted 15-year-old daughter. Unexpectedly handed the job of editor of the newspaper’s Modern Love column, Simon discovers he has a lot to learn about life and love. Berman and Braun optioned rights to the column in 2008. A year later, they set up an adaptation at HBO with Bicks attached to write and Alan Poul to direct. Because of Bicks’ deal at Sony Pictures TV, the studio came on board to produce with BermanBraun. The project, executive produced by Bicks, Berman, Braun, Gene Stein and Poul, was subsequently set up at Lifetime with all original auspices attached. Filming is expected to begin in the summer.
Veteran Army Wives has enjoyed a ratings resurgence in its current Season 5, which continues with Episode 9 this Sunday. Its season premiere averaged 4.2 million viewers, up 27% from the fourth-season debut last April. A month ago, Army Wives posted a series high in total viewers with 4.8 million viewers. Season to date, the series is averaging 3.7 million viewers and ranks as the top-rated drama on cable among women 18-49.
UPDATE: TV Land just officially announced the series pickups of Fran Drescher’s Happily Divorced; Mark Reisman’s project, now called The Exes; and the second-season renewal of Retired at 35. As expected, the orders for Happily Divorced and The Exes are for 10 episodes each. Happily Divorced will premiere June 15, …
Lauren Cohan has landed the female lead in the CW supernatural drama pilot Heavenly. Ryan Eggold also has been tapped for a lead role in the project, from CBS TV Studios and writer Richard Hatem. Heavenly centers on Lily (Cohan), a dedicated young attorney, and a former angel, Dashiel Coffee (Ben Aldridge), only recently turned human, who tackle cases at the attorney’s legal aid clinic – she saves clients’ butts while he saves their souls. Eggold, repped by Gersh and Untitled, will play a pastor whom Dashiel seeks counsels from. Also previously cast in the pilot is Elizabeth Ho. Cohan has recurred on two CW series, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries.
Kevin Zegers (Dawn of the Dead) has landed a lead role opposite Jimmy Wolk in ABC’s Georgetown. Written by Will Fetters, it centers on Andrew Pierce (Wolk), an effortlessly charming and brilliant Yale graduate and the youngest presidential speechwriter on record. Zegers will play Monty, an incredibly wealthy stockbroker from a well-connected family and an old rival of Andrew’s who has just proposed to an old girlfriend of Andrew’s. Canadian-born Zegers has been recurring on the CW’s Gossip Girl this season.