EXCLUSIVE: Modern Family star Sofia Vergara is fielding another single-camera comedy project at ABC, this time inspired by her own parenting experience. The network has put in development Raising Mom, from Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment, Electus and ABC Studios. Gail Mancuso, hot off her Emmy directing win for Modern Family, is on board to helm. Written by Christine Zander (Raising Hope), Raising Mom is inspired by Vergara’s experiences raising her son and follows a young single mom and her 21-year-old son who discover that they have done a pretty good job of raising each other, only now they decide it might be time to gain some independence. The idea for the show was conceived by Balaguer from observing Vergara’s relationship with her son during the more than 20 years he has been producing partners with the Colombian-born actress. (A pic of her and her son Manolo is at right). Raising Mom is executive produced by Zander, Latin World’s Balaguer, Vergara and Kenchy Ragsdale and Electus’ Ben Silverman and Jimmy Fox. The project stems from Latin World’s two-year overall deal with Electus. The companies also have comedy Speak American at Fox with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand and are partnered on the NuevOn YouTube channel. Additionally, Emmy-nominated Vergara and Silverman executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women. ICM Partners-repped Mancuso recently became only the second woman to win Emmy for directing in a comedy series for the “Arrested” episode of Modern Family. Zander and Latin World are repped by CAA.
EXCLUSIVE: Sofia Vergara and Luis Balaguer’s Latin World Entertainment and Ben Silverman’s Electus have teamed with Royal Pains co-creator Andrew Lenchewski and writer Benjamin Brand for Speak American, a half-hour comedy that has been sold to Fox. Universal Cable Prods, where Lenchewski is under an overall deal, is producing. Written by Brand (IFC’s Bollywood Hero), Speak American centers on America Aviles, a young accent-reduction teacher of Latin descent who hires a stranger with unconventional methods to teach her class. Brand and Lenchewski originally developed Speak American at USA with the lead of European heritage. The two then changed direction and approached Silverman and Modern Family star Vergara, who have extensive experience in Latino-themed projects. Silverman executive produced ABC’s Ugly Betty, based on a Colombian telenovela, and he and Vergara executive produce ABC’s upcoming drama Killer Women, based on an Argentine series. They also have partnered on their premium YouTube channel, NuevOn along with an Electus/LatinWE partnership to bring programming formats to the U.S.
The Modern Family star posted this photo of herself online as Lucille Ball for reasons not entirely clear with the tagline: “Lucyyyyy I’m hooome”. Perfect if Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd are planning an homage to classic sitcoms:
Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.
Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …
Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” …
EXCLUSIVE: Ben Silverman is returning to scripted television via the same route that made him an independent producer. ABC is finalizing a deal for a single-camera comedy based on the popular Spanish series Aquí no hay quien viva (loosely translated as I Hate This Place). Silverman will executive produce with Sofia Vergara, star of the network’s Emmy-winning family comedy Modern Family. Craig Doyle has been tapped to write the adaptation, which marks the first broadcast scripted project for Silverman’s IAC-based company Electus which he launched last summer following his rocky two-year tenure at NBC. I Hate This Place is a multi-cultural and multi-generational comedy in the tone of Modern Family and set in an apartment building. It follows the lives of an old school father and his corner-cutting son who must somehow work together to manage the outrageously eccentric tenants